Members of Abilene’s Temple Mizpah are gearing up for several events to be held during the High Holy Days, which begin with Rosh Hashanah and end with Yom Kippur.

Cantor Monica J. O’Desky, who lives in Crowley, will be in Abilene for all services. A catered Rosh Hashanah lunch will be served at the temple, 849 Chestnut St., at noon Sept. 30, following a service at 9:30 a.m. Ticket reservations are due Sunday, Sept. 22, by calling Cherry Shiflet at 572-3037. Tickets are $10 for adults. Children under 13 and military eat for free. 

The High Holy Days will begin with a Rosh Hashanah or Jewish New Year service at 7 p.m. Sept. 29. On Sept. 30, a service will begin at 9:30 a.m., followed by the luncheon. A cemetery service will begin at 10 a.m. Oct. 6 at Elmwood Memorial Park, led by Marc Orner. 

On Tuesday, Oct. 8, Yom Kippur, or the Day of Atonement, services will begin with a Kol Nidre or solemn prayer service at 7 p.m. A second service will be held at 9:30 a.m. Oct. 9, followed by Yizkor or a memorial service at 3:30 p.m. A break the fast will conclude the High Holy Days services, beginning at 6 p.m. 

O’Desky, who commutes to Abilene for services, said in an email that Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur are the bookends of a period of introspection.

“I think of this time almost like you can look at a tax return,” O’Desky wrote.

A time of introspection may not be as neat as a tax return, she wrote, but should be a time to examine what you did with your life the previous year. What worked well and what didn’t? 

“What should I carry forward to the new year and what actions, traits, attitudes should I leave behind?” are questions to ponder, O’Desky wrote. Also, each person should ask whether an apology is owed to someone and then carry that out.

“We are required to ask for forgiveness from others three times,” O’Desky wrote, “but they are not required to forgive us.” 

Often left out, but important, O’Desky wrote, are actions and attitudes for the self. Did I do enough self-care? Was I overindulgent? Am I treating myself as a being made b’tzelem Elohim–in the image of God?

“We remember those who came before us and those whose lives enable us to reach this time and hope to be worthy of their efforts,” O’Desky wrote. “It’s a complicated time that causes many mixed emotions.”

Photo credit: Photo credit: slgckgc on Visual Hunt / CC BY

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