Exploring the Jewish tradition is something I have been curious about for some time. After a few months of learning some wisdom of Kabbalah and absorbing the light shared with me by teachers in Israel, through books, I felt ready to physically show up and experience the Jewish New year with practicing people.
It was a glorious sight to take in. The female cantor and female Rabbi, brought the congregation in, with soft notes rising to the heavens from the choir, a hush came over the temple. The candles were lit to illuminate the Jewish New year, and tears filled my eyes as I saw everyone dressed up, and a sea of yarmulkes stretched across the space. As families were holding hands, a light resonated through the space and filled my heart with joy to be here to witness such a loving community expressing their belief to Creator and supporting each other.
I had only been to this synagogue two times before this high holy day. Before Rosh Hashanah service, I met maybe 20 people and enjoyed the intimate banter with people who welcomed me. These holiday eve, I was astounded to see at least 500 people packing the place!
I followed along to a Hebrew songbook. Filled with poetry, torah scriptures and life affirming words that called the spirit of the reader to lift our minds and hearts to a higher plane of consciousness and inwardly connect with the One.
I was pleasantly surprised to see the Feminine aspect of God represented in the songbook. I was of course visiting a Reform synagogue, but wasn’t sure what to expect. My background of Native American traditions is deeply connected to earth based medicine that is expressed as a Mother God. The Divine Feminine was being supported in loving balance with the Masculine, which made me feel at home to see Shekhina expressed through poems of earth, nature and gentleness.
Sitting peacefully, a Doctor and his family were invited to blow the shofar.
It stirred the congregation and you could feel the vibration from the horn, clearing the space of heavy energy and calling in realms of the Divine to be apart of this experience.
Although I am not fully educated in the Jewish meaning for the shofar blowing, I can say it is similar to the South American Shaman people of Peru, who use a conch shell to ring in an important meeting and calling in the realms of sacred direction to the space. Many indigenous traditions use conch shells and similar horned items to call in archetypes from the cosmos, upper, middle and lower worlds to facilitate higher healing and peace.
It’s also interesting to note that the circular formation of horns and shells, have within its construction the Fibonacci spiral. It’s a perfect mathematical expression of the universe, seen through sacred geometry as a spiral of fractal perfection. A holy mirror of symmetry, reflecting the Divine in the seen and unseen worlds. Existing harmoniously in an endless spiral that can be observed through forms of ram horns, conch shells, and other gifts, nature bestows to us for our earth learning.
Now that we have the whole universe spiraled into one horn, what happens when we blow it? Our breath that is shared by God, travels through sound and our souls begin to clear a path from our mundane duties to invite heaven to rest with us. To have a shofar blown a hundred times from Rosh Hoshanah to Yon Kippur is a massive bridge, connecting the people with their Creator. It gave me chills to hear the shofar blowing and I hope to hear more through out the week!
After two hours of sitting and standing, reading and singing Hebrew, the first service was coming to and end. The rabbi talked of peace and I expanded my awareness to observe the space I was in.
It has been at least two decades since I’ve allowed myself to visit a religious setting. I really felt at home in this temple and felt a connection to the people here. There was no presence of fear, no talk of hell or the devil, nor were there any guilt trips to tighten the grip of attendance. The space, like the people, was elegant, simple, powerful without ego, and deeply rooted in stregth, yet humble.
Tapping into the consciousness of the five hundred Jews sitting with me, I felt their self-directing movement, to be the ones who take responsibility to make our world a greater place. It’s a personal journey, where we become the Moses of our lives, by freeing ourselves from enslaving dogma and assisting others towards empowerment and peace.
I deeply appreciated the absence of the idea of a “Savior.” There was no external object that would remove our responsibility of self-growth and from being the heroes of our own lives without requiring a conduit to take our pain for us. I was touched at the zealous drive towards higher education and lifting the mind of the community with continuous learning of ourselves and the world around us.
I’m looking forward to Shabbat this Friday evening as we continue the celebration of this high holy holiday. I read that it is said, this Jewish New year is when the fate of humankind is decided. The ones who live, the ones who die, the ones who prosper, the ones who do not. Our prior living is under review by heaven, and we have the blessing to co-create with God to express our hopes, dreams and prayers for the new year.
I love the symbolic meaning from the Jewish tradition. It’s a culture of rich storytelling and deep meaning that brings quality to our everyday lives. Some eat the heads of fish, to express to the universe to be the head and not the tail this year. Round baked Challah bread to visually take in the circle of life, much like the spiral of the horn.
Apples and honey for a sweet year, and pomegranates for potent fertility. Its symbology brings a deeper meaning to our earth and how she nourishes us. I’m looking forward to next year, God willing, to celebrate this holiday after starting Jewish classes to better acquaint me to this tradition that has touched my heart so deeply.
Who will you choose to be this year? What areas can we rise to better ourselves and our world around us? I pray my story is one of exploration and travels, meeting new people and holding hand after hand with a new world family.
Happy Rosh Hashanah from a beginner. I wonder who can blow the longest blast on the Shofar? It seems the kids at the synagogue are in a race to find out. The Jewish lungs are like no other lol.