My Jewish husband is hungry and cranky. Very cranky. As a gentile, it’s hard to rally behind this holiday. Yom Kippur is not a fun, happy celebration like Passover or Hanukkah. It’s a day of atonement. Note to my fellow shiksas: avoid chirping, “Happy Yom Kippur” to hungry Jewish friends.
My husband insists there is a purpose behind the fasting. Suffering (even just a little bit) opens your eyes. It allows you to take a step back, examine yourself and reset your goals. You ask for forgiveness for mistakes and resolve to be a better mother, sister, daughter and person in the new year.
I like that. All of us could use a little forgiveness. To my husband, forgive me for not letting go sometimes and letting you parent in your own way. Also, forgive me for being such a neat freak that I remake the bed after you’ve already made it. To my daughters, forgive me for rushing around sometimes like a crazed mama. To my mother, forgive me for everything I said to you from ages 13 to 19. I’m sure my own daughters will seek retribution.
In this new Jewish year, I promise to always kiss my husband goodbye, even if he is in the shower and the girls and I are late for preschool. I promise to never again drink a large cafe mocha and a bottle of water at the beginning of a road trip and then 20 minutes later complain that I have to pee (just as the kids have fallen asleep in the backseat). To my children, I promise to pack your favorite snacks, never lie to you and always be the person who will listen to you and take care of you (whether you are 3 or 33 or 103 – although I might not be around when you are 103).
To myself, I promise to follow my creative ambitions, do things that bring me joy, take care of my family, love and laugh with my husband, connect with my friends (my real friends, not the ones on the “The Hills”), be kind to others and be good to this earth.
So maybe Yom Kippur is not my ideal way to spend a day (especially as someone who isn’t Jewish) because hungry people can be very cranky. Although I admit, the smoked fish platters at sundown are quite yummy. Even without fasting, the Jewish holiday made me stop, reflect and think about the person I want to be. So for that, I am grateful.