So, that was it for the high holidays this year. What to say?
Rosh haShana: I made a planning error and didn’t realize my business trip fell on Rosh haShana (Jewish new year). So this is the first time in 11 years that I have worked on Rosh haShana. And I felt… surreal at first, but then I sort of forgot and enjoyed myself quite a lot. Even though I had previously planned not to write or use my computer, I accidentally did. Well, there’s always next year.
Yom Kippur: I used the day before Yom Kippur to put up the succa and we only finished about an hour before the fast, then I showered and ate quickly. But it was fun and in the end it was only decoration – we could have stopped earlier, so I didn’t feel rushed (in contrast to one year where we were stuck in traffic and I arrived after a 6 hour trip with only 15 minutes to eat, shower and get to synagogue!). Still, this year I felt especially unprepared for Yom Kippur. Maybe because I missed Rosh haShana with it’s introduction of the central themes of the holiday season. But it was the first time I actually fully enjoyed the services. No cellphones, no people talking all the time, it wasn’t too cold (I get cold very easily when I fast), but cold enough so that thirst wasn’t much of a problem. And a relaxed atmosphere.
Succot: Beautiful weather, best that I can remember ever. I have never spent so much time in my succa! And the construction gets better and better every year, this year we improved the roof and made the entrance easier. And I added more decoration (mostly ivy, thuja, colorful leaves).
Simchat Tora: As I only hold one day of holidays but my community is orthodox and holds two, the dancing with the Torah is actually always on the evening after my holiday ends. It’s still fun, but it also feels weird. This year I didn’t go as I had a visitor (and anyway, my holiday is sort of over at that point).
In summary, it was not my most observant year, I probably haven’t spent that little time in synagogue during the high holidays since I started this whole journey. In terms of teshuva I fear that I failed miserably, partly due to lack of preparation. And also because I cannot find real strength to fight some issues right now (which are all between me and G-d, and I guess he knows how I’m feeling and I hope he still gives me a chance).