Thursday, October 2, 2008

My Rosh Hashannah Prayer

Rosh Hashannah. It came… it went. We prayed… we ate.

We have now started the crazy season. Jewish holiday after Jewish holiday. You just get geared up and prepared for one and then another one is around the corner. Perhaps they are on special offer – buy one, get one free?!

But each one has a different character, meaning and role in our lives. Each one merits contemplation and reflection. Every holiday can teach us something about our past, which in turn can help shape our future.

Towards the end of the second day; having prayed, entertained and eaten, I took the little one out for a walk. We ended up at the park and as she worked her way enthusiastically around the swings, slide and other rides, I took in the wonderful view of the Shomron Hills. It is a view I always appreciate; hill after hill, cascading over each other as far as the eye can see. It was the afternoon and the low sun and drifting clouds spread lazy shadows over the land. The grass tones darkened in the shadows and the shades of green seemed to alter in front of my eyes as the clouds moved gently across the sky.

The infectious laughter of my daughter, delighted by her swift descents from the slide provided intermittent interruptions to the peace and quiet around me.

I thought about the recent articles in the paper; this land again appears to be on the chopping block – up for grabs, to be given away cheaply on the whim of a weak and misguided Government. Usually, at Passover, we say, ‘Next year in Jerusalem’; a 2,000 year old yearning that was finally realized with the creation of the State of Israel. This New Year, I had my own silent prayer, ‘Next year, and the year after, and the year after… may we still be living in this beautiful place; somewhere our forefathers settled; somewhere our patriarchs are buried; somewhere our future generations deserve to inherit.’

I don’t think I have ever appreciated living anywhere as much as I do living here.

I don’t think I have ever felt such gnawing fear that the place where I live, somewhere as precious as this, could be so easily discarded.

During this holiday period we consider our past and prepare for our future. We do this on an individual basis. It seems to me though, that we could do with doing this collectively.

Where are we going as a people?

How do we reconcile our own internal differences and integrate as one people?

How do we live in peace and protect our children without the need to chop more and more land away from our already tiny homeland?

And so as my daughter threw her head back in innocent glee, I said my silent prayer, hoping that faith and appreciation would in some way hold sway. Hoping that I could pause time, capture the moment, preserve our life here on this land of our forefathers; hoping , beyond hope, that it will be the land of our descendants too.

Sharona B