Face yourself. Reflect honestly. Reckon with the shadows. Go within. Take responsibility. Course correct. Make amends. Seek forgiveness. Ask for atonement. Be intentional. On Yom Kippur, Jews are presented with a unique opportunity by our commanding tradition, spiritual calling and simple moral responsibility — to our bodies and minds, loved ones and communities, nations and world, present and future. I have, I am and I will seize this moment each year — to shift both word and deed to better align with my values, integrity and purpose. You can too, anyone. It’s not at all easy, but absolutely critical. Here I stand humbly before you, feeling particularly connected to my soulful essence, to Mother Earth, to the ethers, my people, and the powers that be — set to begin my prayerful, reflective, intentional fast without food or technology, electricity or cars, distraction or physical pleasure or any synagogue or gathering this year. I honestly wish for when I re-emerge at sundown tomorrow to be the start of something fresh and bright for all of us. May you and yours be inscribed in the Book of Life for a year of only good things, what you honestly need, health and wholeness, peace within and around, and perhaps even an infusion of hope, light, connection, beauty, joy and calm. G’mar chatimah tovah.
And here’s to a fast like that outlined in Isaiah 58… “The kind of fasting I want is this: Remove the chains of oppression and the yoke of injustice, and let the oppressed go free. Share your food with the hungry and open your homes to the homeless poor. Give clothes to those who have nothing to wear, and do not refuse to help your own relatives. Then my favor will shine on you like the morning sun, and your wounds will be quickly healed. I will always be with you to save you; my presence will protect you on every side. When you pray, I will answer you. When you call to me, I will respond. If you put an end to oppression, to every gesture of contempt, and to every evil word; if you give food to the hungry and satisfy those who are in need, then the darkness around you will turn to the brightness of noon. And I will always guide you and satisfy you with good things. I will keep you strong and well."