Thursday, September 9, 2010

Happy New Year.

Today I celebrated the Jewish New Year. In America.

What the heck are you still doing in America??, you ask, acknowledging that the school year is starting and we live in Dubai.

Well, friends, that's a story for another day. A long story. One I don't have the energy to share now. But I will soon, I promise.

No, today I just wanted to tell you about spending Rosh Hashanah in America, after nearly two years in the UAE.

It was, in a word, wonderful.

It was wonderful because...

It was the first time that my 5-year-old daughter could follow along in the prayerbook, and participate in the responsive readings.

The melodies and songs were all familiar, and even if I didn't remember the exact words, I had the gist.

So many members of the congregation went out of their way to welcome us, knowing of our travels and appreciating that for us, this was not just another high holiday.

My 3-year-old daughter was invited by a little boy from the temple summer camp to go sit with him and his family on the other side of the room... and she happily went, without once looking back.

None of my kids cried or fussed during the service.

We got to hear the shofar being blown, which, if you ask me, is always good luck.

Afterwards, we went to the home of my oldest friend, and were treated to a delightful meal that was warm and comforting and reminiscent of everything that means "family."

None of my kids cried or fussed during the long car ride.

I was celebrating in a country where the Jewish holiday was not ignored or tolerated, but, as evidenced by the widespread school closings, respected.

I didn't feel like I was missing out.

This year, I was on the inside.

This year... I am coming home.

I wish you and yours a year of joy, possibilities, and above all, peace. Shana tova. xoxo.


Zunaid said...

...and the next day Muslim Americans celebrated Eid very quietly in silent fear and apprehension. With September 11 just around the corner, a nutcase pastor planning to burn a few hundred Qurans and debate still raging over the Ground Zero mosque, they surely cannot be comfortable openly displaying their religion in, not a foreign country, but a land they call home.

You just have to appreciate the irony. Eid Mubarak and Happy New Year to you :)

Al said...

Best post I ever read and so happy for you. Have a Sweet New Year! And many more here at home.

JNT said...

LOVE THIS POST!!!! We've so missed your family at our Rosh Hashana table for the past 2 yrs! We're grateful, relieved and thrilled you are home. Perfect timing to end this chapter in your life and to start a new one in the New Year! As you close one door, a new one will open. I know you are sad to say goodbye to your new friends. Your old ones will be here waiting to comfort you. xoxo