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I am a Jew by Choice

28/09/20 14:36:24

Sep28

Billie Hocking

I am a Jew by choice, as you all know. I prefer this term instead of convert, if indeed a term has to be coined at all.

During the 12 months, or in my case 6 months of “conversion”, we are asked what is your favourite Jewish festival and why.

At first it seems a rather simple question. Easy. I can answer that. No probs.

No, not really…

Like many, I chose Purim. The happiness, the colours, the fun, the spiel. The same story re-read and performed in a variety of themes. I mean, what’s not to love, right!?

Or Pesach? All those wonderful foods, another great story, the community spirit.

Or Chanukah. The candles, the latkes, the community oneg, the latkes, the family oneg, the latkes.

But upon reflection and almost straight after I chose Purim, I changed my mind to Yom Kippur.

A long day, a mournful day. A day without food nor drink. A day where after a while the pew feels like it is made of granite. A day where if you aren’t careful, your mind drifts off to what food tastes like and just how good that first drink is going to taste. A day to contemplate your personal life and your life within spiritual and secular communities. 

A day asking for forgiveness and extending forgiveness. Experiencing the sense of guilt and sadness being lifted from your shoulders and from your back. A true sense of relief and that by the end of the day, the metaphorical slate has been wiped clean.

Yes, by the end of the day, you do feel tired, from having not done anything physical all day and from a day doing so much thinking, considering and pondering.

But, at the end of the day, I always breathe a big sigh of relief. I walk outside and take a big deep breath of fresh air. 

And that is the keyword, to me. 

Fresh. 


I always have a sense of feeling renewed, knowing that I can start the New Year with revived feelings and new ideas. That almost anything can be achieved, either on my own or with a little help from my friends. I will get by.

So, on this day, I fervently hope that each one of you can get the sense of rebirth, of a restored self that I experience each and every Yom Kippur.

 “G’mar Hatima Tova”, May you be sealed in the Book of Life
 
Shana Tova
 

Wed, 27 January 2021 14 Sh'vat 5781