Happy New Year!
Yes, I know it is only mid-September. But for those of us who are Jewish, we have just celebrated the New Year.
The High Holy Days consist of two observances: Rosh Hashana, the Jewish New Year, which was celebrated last week, and Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, which starts Friday evening.
Rosh Hashana is a time for celebration, for eating sweet foods and spending time with family. We taught our daughter Samantha, 3, to say L'shanah Tovah this year which means, have a good new year.
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Her brother Barry, 1, isn't quite ready for Hebrew but he loves eating apples and honey with his sister, a traditional food that symbolizes a sweet New Year.
Both kids enjoy the songs and stories told at the annual children's service at Lake Norman Jewish Congregation, followed by a breakfast celebration with our congregation.
But the most meaningful part of these holidays is what happens in the 10 days between Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur.
Although our children are a bit young to grasp this concept, it is one that is important for my husband, Howie, and me.
It is a time for looking inward, for reflecting, for asking forgiveness to those we have wronged over the past year.
And it is a time to forgive others who have wronged us. It is an opportunity for us to start fresh.
My personal focus this year is on being more patient and enjoying all of the funny, crazy, chaotic things that come with raising two energetic, amazing toddlers.
It is a time for me to put life back into perspective and remember to not sweat the small stuff.
On the day of Yom Kippur, it is traditional for adults to fast for a period of 24 hours.
Services are held throughout the day and have a very serious tone.
This has always been a reminder for me that there are so many people in this world that have less than I do.
At the end of the day, we have a family meal to break the fast.
It also means that Grandma Cookie, my mother-in-law, comes into town to visit.
This is my kid's favorite part of the holiday. A visit from Grandma Cookie means lots of hugs, kisses, playing games all day, and plenty of desserts for a whole weekend.
It is a fun time for all of us to celebrate as a family.
One Jewish tradition is to serve dairy foods as the meal to break the fast, but our family tradition is to serve an array of traditional foods like noodle kugel, matzah ball soup, brisket and chopped liver.
Many of these foods are also traditionally served on Rosh Hashana. My sister and brother-in-law and their children will be joining us for our meal.
As I reflect on this past year, I realize how truly lucky I am to have a wonderful, healthy family, a great place to live in the Lake Norman area, and a life filled with love and happiness.
And a special note to my family; I am sorry for being a bit impatient at times. I will try harder to be more patient this year.