Yom Kippur

March 25th, 2008 Leave a comment Go to comments

12 October 2005, Wednesday
Heidelberg, Germany

My world, as I mentioned seems to be totally and completely spinning out of control.

This morning I was ensconced in the second half of the meeting between the Occupational Health Nurses and the German Disability Insurance Carrier. Also present were the reps from the inspection agency out of the German Military. This morning we tried to be a bit better organized and stuck more closely to the agenda. As a result, we actually had a chance to see the presentations the three gentlemen had prepared.

I also was a bit insistent, borrowing one of the CDs to copy out all of the URL links for the OHNs. We have been promised a CD at a future time, but the reference websites would be nice to have now.

We finish around 1400, just in time for me to head over to the Chapel. This time I am not so dumb; the smaller, moveable Ark is in the back, we will use that rather than try again to move the larger one out of the smaller chapel. Gathering up a few other items, I have time for only a few other rearranging bits before heading back up the hill to home.

I change and try to get myself into a contemplative state. No luck, the real world is hammering at my mind with all that needs to be done. Including picking up the kid pool from the S-Bahn in just a few minutes.

One crisis averted and on to the next. Apparently a 20 minute warning before leaving for shul is not adequate. I should have reminded them further out. And given them specifics of food and drink warnings. Ok, next year.

Kol Nidre. I can hardly make it through what I have to finish yet for this past year and am all too aware of my frailties. This next year offers many more challenges. Three times to be said, three times to acknowledge that I will try my best.

Down stairs from us, it sounds like a rock band. I have been attending the Chapel Tuesday afternoon meetings for months and had put everything on the schedule. This turns out to be a practice session for the Gospel Men’s Choir. No, they had not heard that tonight was a Holy Day for another congregation. They have equal rights in the Chapel. No, they were no going to tone it down. No, the woman who attends the meetings every Tuesday does not speak on their behalf.

Whatever, but all of us have to consider each other, we will be done in less than 30 minutes, any kind of charity at all would have you respecting another tradition and not disturbing our worship with your practice.

I did not completely lose it. I am not yet into the New Year. But they are loud, full amplified. Bill is louder, but not as loud as this group.

I am glad to be back upstairs, wrapped in a tallis. But I am not wrapped in peace.

Heading home, I am grateful for the close to 40 that made it for Kol Nidre.

I am not grateful to find that I am running a fever.


13 October 2005, Thursday- Yom Kippur
Heidelberg, Germany

Fasting is best accomplished by those who are young, healthy or at least feeling well. I will most days still claim to be young. After all, young is a matter of attitude. Health can be accomplished by maintaining yourself and taking maintenance medications (blech.) But there is nothing that I could do about the feeling well.

Well, there was, but it involved fluids, Tylenol, Motrin and ASA. So much for a complete fast. I am not stupid and I am not interested in missing work tomorrow.

We are also a small congregation, so every person counts. In the case of our family, we provide a good portion of the minyan most times.

Shacharit started at 1000. I lasted through most of it, taking a break at the beginning of the Torah service to go downstairs and talk to the Chaplain about last night’s discussion with the Gospel Group. They fall under one of the Chaplains over in Mannheim. We were able to reach him on the phone. He agreed it did not matter if they had the information about relocation of practice session or not: the issue was courtesy and respect for another group. What they did was against what he is teaching and preaching – he will deal with his congregation.

Many of the members stayed for discussion. We headed home for a rest. I crashed until time for the last service, the rest of the crew having returned for earlier for afternoon service followed by Yiztkor. Nina read Jonah (the afternoon’s Haftorah portion) and Noah blew the final Shofar blast

We broke the fast after Havdahal before heading home. I am still confused. Perhaps if it had not been sunny? Maybe I need grey skies and rain, I am not sure but this year has been difficult for me.


24 September 2004, Friday Kol Nidre

Heidelberg Germany

As I start shutting things down in preparation for Yom Kippur, I am reflecting back. Not just on the last few days since Rosh Hashanah, but since this time last year. Sometimes the things that I have accomplished, the promises I have kept, seem small in the face of everything that I should have done, or that needed to be done. I really wasn’t home, to be the parent and the spouse I could have been. I wasn’t able to always write back, make things better, fix all my patients. I ask your forgiveness for anything on which I may have let you down and will try to be a better friend in the coming year.

The idea of the year starting over in the fall has always made sense to me. Work seems to start anew, school starts with a new year, and there is always a chance to do something better in the coming year than the one before. It is the only thing that makes fall worth bearing, otherwise, it is raining, cold and going to the slumbering portion of the year. The portion of the year where there is no guarentee of spring.

So, perhaps it is a good metaphor. To be sealed in the Book of Life for this coming year is a promise of spring and of future.

May you have a safe and restful fast, be strengthened for the coming year. May you be sealed in the Book of Life.


25 September 2004, Saturday

Heidelberg Germany

The gates are closed. Darkness has fallen. The Havdahal candle has been extinguished.

We go from the sanctuary downstairs to say a short ha’motzi and break our fast.

Walking home, it is quiet, dark and misty. Perhaps it is best that it rains on Yom Kippur, then the weather for the new year can be the same or better. Perhaps it is best that it rains, making it easier to deal with hunger and thirst, staying indoors to read and contemplate.

Yitzkor brings back the memories of those who “have passed on.” Died, in real language. Today, the Rabbi made a short, interesting commentary. It is true, as we go through this service, that all memories are positive. There might have been negatives, conflicts unresolved, estrangement. But it should not detract from the service, rather, to let us thing forward to those currently in our lives. And to have whatever relationship with them improved, so as not to develop new regrets.

Only 24 hours, this break from daily, ordinary life. To contemplate on this past year. To examine with honesty relations at home, work and with the world. To make better the world and ourselves in this coming year.


29 Sept 1998- Kol Nidre. Tuzla Main, Bosnia

Kol Nidre services started at 1930. The usual local cast of suspects; one of the soldiers is en route to Germany as we speak, and there were some personnel present from the newly arrived 1CD. One of my soldiers from Heidelberg (1995 era) is now stationed at FT Hood – and just deployed here. The military can be a small world.

We are running a modified reform: the prayer book is reform, but we are using all of the Hebrew. Few seem to need the transliterations. Interesting concept, the anacrostic of “sins” and the similar but not the same list in English. Xenophobia – what an apt term for use, when sitting in the middle of Bosnia. Good discussion of the idea of free choice, the presence of evil and the choice of evil.

There is need to go deeper, in this forum. Asking for forgiveness ahead vs for the past year really wasn’t discussed, but I remember learning that variation became effective in centuries past so that individuals who might be forced to forswear to stay alive could disclaim ahead of time.

We returned to Blue Factory by chopper – full up, since this was the last ride of the evening, so to speak.

30 Sept 2007- Yom Kippur, Blue Factory & Tuzla Main, Bosnia

Up, convoy at 0830, services at 1000.

Stopped into the Ambassadors office for part of the afternoon – hand wrote a bunch of senior rater comments and stopped in the ADC office to check on the other OER’s.

Went back for Yizkor and Neilah. again, a good bunch with a couple of interesting discussions.
Still feels strange to be sitting in services with a weapon. The whole group of us then trucked over to the DFAC to have supper then we headed back.

Just a lot of sorting out to do – got several boxes off to folks – have to deal with the clothes and the rest of it. and ruck sack.

Tomorrow the 2BCT changes over, I have to spend some time with the new crew and have a luncheon going on. Then there are two birds headed north if everything goes right.


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