Friday, September 17, 2010

Yom Kippur - 5771

My Uncle Irving used to spend the evening of Yom Kippur at our house. He lived in a hotel in Manhattan and our apartment in Brooklyn was the only place where he really felt comfortable lighting a Yahrzeit (Memorial Candle). He would wear a Yarmulke for this occasion each year, which always underscored the solemnity of the day.

Like most Jews in New York at the time, Uncle I was largely secular. He was not a regular attendee of shul on Fridays, those evenings were spent with me. But Yom Kippur was a big deal. The only thing he did do that violated the sacredness of of that holiday was in his making the return trip to Manhattan after sundown, so that he would be present for morning services. For this purpose he would travel by subway.

The streets were always deserted on the High Holy Days, like Rosh Hashanah, but the effect was even more magnified on Yom Kippur. Even Christians stayed home! There was no place that was open for them to go.

It was to be years until I began lighting my own Yahrzeit, for my Mom, and even longer before I ventured into the prayer portion. I won't be found in Synagogue, electing to have my own time, here at home, alone with my thoughts. And, being so thin, I don't fast. But I do light the candle, just as Uncle I did, and I say the prayer in memory of my Mom, just as he did for his Mom and Dad.

The only difference is that now I say the Prayer for my Mom and my Uncle Irving and his Mom and Dad. I think it makes them feel good. And someday, my daughter will add my name to that list. It's kind of like a chain that keeps on growing. And that, makes me feel good, too.

No comments:

Post a Comment