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  • erinschrode

Rosh Hashanah in Puerto Rico

This moment will never ever happen again: Erev Rosh Hashanah with an extraordinary group of human beings atop a mountain in Puerto Rico sharing beautiful dishes and in depth conversation while practicing meaningful rituals that have been embraced locally and globally for thousands of years.

Immense power lies in reflection, introspection, release and intention. Each of us chose to gather, share and celebrate the birthday of the world — and therein unearth new significance, relevance and connection based on where we find ourselves physically, emotionally, spiritually, mentally, socially, professionally as individuals and collectives.

Rosh Hashanah invites us into the space between who we are and who we wish to become, what we have done and what we can accomplish, where we have transgressed and where we may right the wrongs, how we have lived and how we desire to forge ahead. In the gift that is the Days of Awe, we are commanded to explore, grapple with, and face truths about ourselves, friends, families, direction, communities, aspirations, fears, goals, pains, thoughts, sins, pride, world — past, present, future.

I feel a profound sense of gratitude for my Puerto Rican tribe who honored us with their full presence at a long festive table of traditional foods crafted with exquisite local ingredients; embraced the flames reflected in our fingernails as we separated the mundane from the sacred; boldly let go of that which does not serve with words, deeds, ideas, wrongdoings symbolically written on leaves during Tashlich; clinked and enjoyed many a glass of wine, cleansed their bodies and minds, ripped and passed homemade challah, dipped apples in honey; dared to delve into, draw meaning from, and discover the myriad of beautiful, thought-provoking, wide-ranging plain and intricate ties or similarities between our Isla del Encanto in the Caribbean and traditions of our Jewish people in Israel and the diaspora over the past 5779 years.

This was not just any night — and I am humbled to share the joy in creation, renewal, growth, forgiveness, surrender, intention, hope, ritual, in the passage of time alongside powerful souls, as we near the first anniversary of Hurricane Maria here in Puerto Rico on September 20, 2018. Thank you to Joanna for cocreating magic, exuding elegance, and believing in a joint vision, Crystal for hosting us at your spectacular El Pretexto, Natalia for bringing to life beloved recipes with fresh splendor, Seth for always supporting our community to bring ideas to fruition, our REALITY family Manolo, Isabel, Xavier, Max, Cristina, Daniel, Daniela, Jesse and Loreana for contributing your brilliance and energy— and to all who joined from near and far for your limitless hearts, deliberate nature, tremendous intellect, inexhaustible spirit, nuanced perspective, inspiring paths, courageous purpose and trust in, stewardship of, collaboration with and acceptance of my being, culture, traditions, voice, hands and heart in this ever-evolving journey of service, of presence, of Tikkun Olam. May this truly be the sweetest year yet. L’Shanah Tovah!


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