We are in a special time, the ten days of Repentance. During this time we imagine the gates of heaven being open to us and our hopes to better ourselves and the world. The effort we invest returns back to us many times. We need specific practices to help us effect the inner change we want and to help bring about the larger external changes this broken world so badly needs.
First is Tzedakah or Charity. If we want to heal ourselves and the world, we have the tools at hand right now by donating to institutions and causes that strive to bring healing into the world.
You recently received your Kol Nidre appeal. Please support the holy work of our congregation. We pray, play, and learn together and do acts of Tikkun Olam, world repair, regularly. This happens only because you, our members, care and support us. Especially this year, as we transition to a new building, any gift to Kol Nidre will have outsize impact.
In addition, hunger and homelessness remain perennial challenges throughout the world. Locally, we see more and more RVs parked along central streets; homeless programs seem to close when they need to expand. I urge you to support Second Harvest of Santa Clara and San Mateo County. Bring a bag of groceries with you to Kol Nidre for our annual food drive; donate here. Other worthy charities with the same goal include LifeMoves and Jewish Family and Children’s Service.
This is also a moment to heal broken relationships and to invest further in healthy ones. Find time to call, email, message, or speak in person, to friends, family, acquaintances with whom we may have had issues over the year. Ask for forgiveness; remind people that you care for and love them.
Finally, on Yom Kippur itself, wear white. Fasting reminds us to focus from the material to the spiritual and ethical; wearing white invites us to imagine being cleansed and ready for a new start. By dressing up as though we are pure, we move ourselves towards wholeness. I urge everyone to wear white- it’s quite amazing to see the whole congregation letting go of vanity and turning towards spiritual renewal.
May you find these days of preparation meaningful and meaning filled, and may you have a transformative and healing day this Yom Kippur. An easy fast as well!!
Let us all be sealed for life, for health, for prosperity, and for peace.
Rabbi David Booth