Just returned from a lovely evening at the home of my friends Deva and Stan Troy. The occasion was Erev Rosh Hashanah; meaning the eve of Rosh Hashanah. In the tradition in which I was raised, this night ushers in what is colloquially called The Jewish New Year. It begins the 10 Days of Awe between this holiday and Yom Kippur which is considered the holiest day of the religion. In years past, I would spend it in the synagogue of my childhood and then as an adult, Temple Beth Or which was the one we attended in South Florida, reciting familiar prayers that are in my blood. Other times, I would sit on the edge of a body of water as I meditated and prayed. I have incorporated the use of mala (Buddhist prayer necklace) on which there are 108 beads. I would run them through my fingers and for each one, send a blessing to someone who has touched my life in one way or another.  A few years ago, I went around three times, since there were so many who came to mind and heart. I will do so again tomorrow.

At tonight’s gathering, I was joined by several other friends from their overlapping soul circles, one I have known since 1979 and one I just met tonight. In between are others I have seen at various gatherings. Each brought with them, a contribution of lovingly prepared dishes and their own sweet souls. The conversation around the table was lively and fascinating, on topics ranging from politics and religion (the only one of the ‘taboo subjects’ that was missing, was sex.) to therapy, since two of us were psychological therapists and two occupational therapists. Some of us were raised Jewish and others were there with partners who grew up in other faiths. God is cool with all of that, as I have on good authority.

What we each have in common is a desire to engage in T’shuvah (turning, as in turning over a new leaf).

After dinner, we gathered in their living room and sang a chant written by the late Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach.

Music and Lyrics : Schlomo Carlebach
© Schlomo Carlebach All Rights Reserved

Return again, return again
Return to the land of your Soul
Return again, return again
Return to the land of your Soul

Return to what you are, return to who you are
Return to where you are
Born and reborn again
Return again, return again,
Return to the land of your Soul
Return again, return again
Return to the land of your Soul…

It reminds me that life is a perpetual cycle and we are invited to be whole-ly and holy who we are.

We then did a body love meditation where we honored the container for those precious souls we tote around. Deva then asked us to consider what we wanted to continue doing as we had in this past year and what we wanted to change. Although I had written several items on both lists, the two that stood out were ‘loving fully’ and ‘releasing fear’. I have learned that they cannot co-exist. I choose love, first and foremost.

As I stepped out into the rainy and chilly night, my heart was warmed and my soul ready to soar into the New Year.

L’shana tovah, tikatevu.  May you be inscribed in the book of life for a good year.



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