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By Laura Stec

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About this blog: I've been attracted to food for good and bad reasons for many years. From eating disorder to east coast culinary school, food has been my passion, profession & nemesis. I've been a sugar addict, a 17-year vegetarian, a food and en...  (More)

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The Days of Awe

Uploaded: Sep 17, 2015

Welcome to the Days of Awe.

This is a ten-day period beginning on Rosh Hashanah (the Jewish New Year) and ending on Yom Kippur (September 22nd). According to Jewish belief, this is the week the entire world is judged by God, so it's time to get our acts together everybody. My Buddish friend Ilona was filling me in this morning on our walk at Wunderlick Park in Woodside.

She shared passionately about Jewish ceremonies of food and spirit. Latkes (fried potato pancakes) are eaten on Hanukkah to mark the Temple oil staying lit for eight days. Passover matzo (unleavened bread) commemorates the Jews who fled Egypt before their bread could rise. And on Rosh Hashanah, last Sunday, apples and honey bring hope of a sweet new year for all.

Jews will be fasting on Yom Kippur (starting sundown this Tuesday), as a way to rise above the daily grind, and spend time thinking about how to improve oneself in the New Year. I think I might join them. It's always good to fast now and again, because it gives us a moment to approach our day and our life with more awareness.

And if I got this right, at sundown Wednesday, the fast is broken and breadcrumbs are symbolically tossed into water as a way of releasing our ackowledged imperfections.

So this week there is no recipe; no big party.

Just a space to stop and think about our lives. To acknowledge anyone we may have wronged, or anything we want to change.

Time to pour oneself a cup of tea and ask...

How might I be a better person?

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Posted by Plane Speaker, a resident of Crescent Park,
on Sep 18, 2015 at 11:03 pm

> According to Jewish belief, this is the week the entire world is judged by God

Now there's a scary thought. Thank goodness God judges us less harshly than I would.

Posted by Laura Stec, a resident of Portola Valley: Westridge,
on Sep 19, 2015 at 7:36 am

Hmmm Plane Speaker, doesn't sound good. I sense some fasting in your future?

Posted by Sent via email, a resident of another community,
on Sep 19, 2015 at 1:02 pm

I liked your article [in the Almanac]. Great writing and I agree!

Posted by Father of 3, a resident of Midtown,
on Sep 19, 2015 at 9:11 pm

Very nice post and sentiments. I assume your "Jewbu" friend could also be described as "Buddish"? A term I first heard from Daryl Henriquies, the "Swami from Miami" many years ago on San Francisco radio. Happy New Year to everyone.

Posted by Laura Stec, a resident of Portola Valley,
on Sep 19, 2015 at 9:17 pm

Father of 3, Buddish is so much better and respectful sounding. Thank you. Buddish!

Posted by Blog Crush, a resident of Bailey Park,
on Sep 22, 2015 at 10:25 am

I agree on Buddish. Jewbu sounds like some sort of urban clothing line for the Hasidim ;)

Posted by Laura Stec, a resident of Portola Valley: Westridge,
on Sep 22, 2015 at 2:26 pm

Blog Crush, You made me google Hasidim (and blush). I like buddish much much better after Father of 3 wrote in. Happy Yom Kipper everyone!

Posted by Debbie Mytels, a resident of Midtown,
on Sep 24, 2015 at 1:49 pm

Thanks for sharing these food-related religious traditions, Laura. As a person who's interested in an Earth-based spirituality, I find it interesting that the traditional Jewish fall holidays come at about the time of the autumnal equinox. The fall equinox comes when traditional peoples would start to think about their harvested food and how they would get through the winter... and that's a good time to think about making amends and figuring out how to get along better with everyone you'll be sharing food with during the long cold winter.

Posted by Not a Rabbi but still..., a resident of Portola Valley: other,
on Sep 24, 2015 at 2:48 pm

Nice post. For the record, there is a ritual of throwing small pieces of bread (not breadcrumbs) into a body of moving water as a symbol of casting off one's transgressions. This ritual, Tashlikh, is usually performed on the afternoon of Rosh Hashonah, which is at the beginning of the Days of Awe. The fast of Yom Kippur is at the end of the 10 days.

It is often not understood that the various forms of repentance, from Tashlikh to prayer to acts of charity, are ways of seeking forgiveness from God, but they do not replace seeking forgiveness from people whom you have wronged. So there is no easy shortcut to forgiveness!

Posted by Laura Stec, a resident of Portola Valley: Westridge,
on Sep 25, 2015 at 8:00 am

Not a Rabbi - thanks for the clarification! I knew something was not right about that. What beautiful symbolism. I am glad to have learned about more this high holy time.

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