Rabbi Elizabeth S. Wood

Rabbi Elizabeth S. Wood
Celebrating Havdallah

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Slow down, you move too fast....

New York. Of all the things New York has taught me in the last month, it's this: slow down!!! Not the city, mind you...me. I came in here guns blazing, ready to take on the world. And this city, ironically, has taught me that sometimes I need to take time to get everything done. I'm a fast mover, a fast talker, and a fast thinker. But I've learned some important lessons.

In a city of millions of people, sometimes things just take time. Wherever I am, there are always lines. If I need to get something done, it might take multiple steps/trips and have to go through lots of people. If I want to go somewhere, I can't always jump in my car and speed off to wherever I need to be - there is too much traffic. And if it's public transportation, forget it - I'm on their schedule.

I'm not always the most patient person in the world (though I am ALWAYS trying to work on this). New York has taught me that with millions of people around me every day, and everyone is trying to get somewhere or do something or be someone - there needs to be a lot of patience. I try, every day, to be patient with myself and with others, no matter what the situation. It's hard, but I find that in New York, this is a key component to healthy living.

So far, I'm loving the city - and I'm loving the great lessons I'm learning. Who knew that I'd have to come to one of the most fast-paced cities in the world to learn that I personally need to slow down a little and continue practicing patience?? I love the fast pace of everything here, but the irony of my own personal need to slow down, be patient, and wait my turn is all too evident.

What great lessons have you learned this month??!!??

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Reflection and Connection for the 5771 HHD

My (new) congregation is doing a "Reflection and Connection" book for the upcoming Jewish High Holidays. Each family, that wants to participate, is asked to reflect on either a favorite High Holiday memory, what it is that they are most grateful for, or hopes and dreams for the new year ahead. And it has to be 100 words or less.

I decided to reflect on a memory. Here's what I submitted:

An unspoken bond in our family. We waited for it each year, that moment of musical ecstasy. I would watch as my father bowed his head and my mother closed her eyes. My brother would sway to that familiar melody. Avinu Malkeinu. The organ swelled, the four part choir sang with beauty, clarity. I could feel my soul being lifted by the music, the moment, the awesomeness of it all. Every year I wait for that moment when I'm connected to my family, my heritage, my memories. I wait for that moment when my soul is lifted on high and I am renewed.

What favorite memory of the High Holidays comes to your mind? Or, what are you most grateful for? What do you hope this new year will bring?