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The Days of Awe

05/06/2022 11:51:43 AM


Ora Cohen Rosenfeld

This past Monday and Tuesday marked the start of the new Jewish month, Iyar.  The month of Iyar contains central points in the life of the Jewish nation, both happy and sad.  These essential holidays are not biblical, like Sukkot and Passover, but modern additions to the calendar.  A number of weeks ago, we marked Yom HaShoah, Holocaust Memorial Day.  In Israel and around the world, ceremonies take place to remember and honor the 6 Million Jews murdered by the Nazis.  Six million is a number that is impossible to truly understand, although we did mark the day with lighting six yellow candles in their memory.  Our Religious School took part in the “Butterfly Project”, where each year the students make butterflies, working toward a butterfly to memorialize each of the 1.5 million children killed in the Holocaust.  While our youngest students didn’t take part in the ceremony and conversation we had on Wednesday evening, they did make butterflies to add to our collection.

The next holiday is also one of grief and loss, as Israel stands still for two minutes on Yom HaZikaron, the Memorial Day for fallen Israeli soldiers and victims of terrorist attacks.  When the sun goes down, the flags that were at half mast all day are raised and the day of mourning shifts to celebration, as the party begins for Yom HaAtzmaut, Israel Independence Day.  The evening and following day are filled with joyous ceremonies, family picnics, flags and dancing.  These three holidays together are often called the modern “Yamim Noraim”, the Days of Awe. This is the name used for Rosh Hashanah, New Years, the ten days of reflection and Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement.  Just as these holy days are central to the Jewish year, these three events are etched with sadness and joy into our modern calendar.  Like the hope we have for the New Year, we leave this season of sadness and joy, with the hope that someday there will be peace in Israel and in the world.  

Shabbat Shalom, 

Ora Cohen Rosenfeld

Sat, April 13 2024 5 Nisan 5784