896: Quality of Life

For the high holy days my family never goes to synagogue. Instead we go to a place a vast natural beauty, a place so awe inspiring it makes you believe in a higher power and it's there that we contemplate the new year, honor our dead and clean ourselves of grudges and bad memories for the year. This year I've made friends with a young mom who is Hassid and she asked if we'd like to join her. Since my husband sleeps in late, I figured I could pop by and check out how they celebrated it before doing our tradition. To be honest, I do not have much respect for the Hassid tradition. If you listen to The Moth or any news channel that runs a lot of human interest stories, you've probably heard stories of how it's the Patriarchy and oppressive to be part of or how their isolationist attitude can be downright bad for communities they live side by side with. However for Rosh Hashanah, I could forget all about that. We were all Jews, celebrating the most ancient of our traditions. It was most interesting to me, because while there was a curtain up separating the sexes, it seemed much more logical in the context that our women's side was almost entirely populated by young moms running after their toddlers. It created a divider between the quiet prayer and chaos. My favorite moment was when one of the men got up to read from the Torah and he had his one year old son, sleeping in that limp, oblivious way small children do, draped over his shoulder. He stood there, swaying, reading the most holy of texts on the most holy of days, with his little boy drooling all over his Saturday best. It made it clear that the most important thing is family.