This morning Will, 4, asks for paper so he can make a book about “Evan the Horse.” He knows no one named Evan nor do we have a horse. The paper comes from my office and the book involves wobbly letters written in no particular order and lots of tape.
Julia has a fever and spends her time moping on the couch, sighing the drama of the ill and bored, and then smiling because she’s relieved she doesn’t have to go to Sunday school. [Disclaimer: Whatever your vision of Sunday school is, it probably doesn’t match ours. I’m fully Jewish as is my husband. However, our version of a temple is a hike in the woods discussing nature and asking the kids how they feel. Also, our Judaism involves a lot of food.]
Daniel helps cut celery stalks and questions me in his lawyerly way about why the US has troops in various countries, what we would do if this country were invaded, if we have troops on any borders. Did I mention he’s been playing the board game Risk?
Jamie sulks about Hebrew school and preps for the birthday party he’s working this afternoon during which he and a friend will wrangle 18 six-year-olds in a baseball game and try to avoid concussions.
So I am on book-making, fever-reducing, war-answering, birthday party tip giving duty…while prepping for the 20 person dinner on Wednesday night.
Rosh Hashanah is the Jewish New Year and a time for reflecting on the past year while opening wide for the sweetness of the year to come.
Our last year, as you might know by now, was anything but sweet. We had death and loss and tragedy.
And yet we’re still here.
That is the sweetness of life, that tangy bite of the apples dipped in honey Jews consume on this holiday. True sweetness on the outside paired with the knowledge that underneath are myriad flavors.
We tell the kids that religion is a personal thing, however one chooses to find faith doesn’t matter but having faith matters greatly. This doesn’t necessarily mean faith in God or even in something you can name. But knowing how to keep going when the worst is happening and – and this is what I learned this year – that this suffering doesn’t have to be done alone – is faith. Faith in humanity and faith in family. Faith that after loss comes life again and even sweetness.
I’ll be cooking for the Jewish holidays bit by bit and offering the recipes to you. A couple with which to start off…