Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur: How do UU’s honor these Jewish holidays?



By Debra Haffner

The Days of Awe begin with us tonight.
May the next ten days be days of reflection, introspection, and peace.
May we prepare ourselves for the changes in the year to come.
May it be a good year.
May it be a healthy year.
May it be a year of peace for all of us, all around the globe.
May it be a year of peace within ourselves.
May we live our lives with integrity, service, and love.
May we be blessed with the strength of this community, of our families, of our friends.
May we remember what is truly important in life and may we remember to be grateful every day.
May we all be inscribed another year in the Book of Life.

La Shanah Tovah!

The ten Jewish high holy days that begin at sundown on September 9 this year are an opportunity for us to look at the year ahead and consider how we can be in better relationship with others.  We can also look back on the previous year and determine who we may need to forgive.

UU world published this article on forgiveness last year.  In it, the author ELIZABETH LERNER MACLAY, explains how Unitarian Universalists can learn from the valuable practice of seeking forgiveness.  This paragraph especially resonated with me,

If we inform Unitarian Universalism with Jewish understanding of forgiveness we gain invaluable perspective. What does it mean to us as liberal people of faith if we say that we cannot live or act alone, accountable only to ourselves?  It means living into our Principles: affirming and promoting the inherent worth and dignity of every person; justice, equity and compassion in human relations; respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part.

The Church of the Larger Fellowship is a UU congregation without walls.  They serve 3,500 members and their families all over the world.  They publish a monthly newsletter entitled Quest.

A few years ago, Rev. Jane Dwinell’s article on forgiveness was featured at this time of year to address the days of awe in the Jewish tradition.  The ten high holy days begin with Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, and end with Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement.

Take a few moments with the children in your life in the days coming up and have a conversation about forgiveness.  Perhaps have your own special ceremony in light of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur.  Here is one from UUA.

My best to you with many blessings,