Our Own Season

It was a long summer. There were rockets, UN anxieties, tent protests, a tragic Tel Aviv hit-and-run, and the heat. And presiding over all this was the tyrant, the sun, its gaze blank and pitiless. But finally the weather broke. This past weekend the tension of a perpetually uniform sky gave way with just a few seconds of downpour, a tease of a deluge. The flies were forced away, the fallen ficus fruits that coat the streets turned to a slush and got washed away.


Now Tel Aviv has a slightly different timbre. It''s not really cooler, but there is a woody edge to the wind, a little hint of something toasted, maybe that''s blown down with the last scraps of summer''s northern prevailing winds from the Golan. Maybe not.


The rain delivered us to the New Year. And the New Year will hopefully bring us to ourselves. It''s easy to get lost in all these woes in Israel, like actors lost in their melodrama characters. But no matter what the holidays mean to you -- a vacation, a revitalization, a repentance -- they offer a moment of stillness to a sometimes hectic people.


I will be visiting family abroad this year. It''s always a strange feeling to leave Israel for the High Holidays. But it''s not strange just because of historical ironies, but because there''s also a comfort in leaving, as if I don''t have to face the reality of the chagim in the Land.


I see in this the various halves, the unbalanced dichotomies of being a Jew today. Maybe this is yet another facet of the many-faceted holidays of this period: reconciliation not with another, and not even with oneself, properly speaking, but with the divisions within oneself. Each year, we may fulfill ourselves by reconciling separate and conflicting parts, like weaving and tying the separate strands of a fringed cloth.


In any case, I will also urge myself to take a break from all existential nail-biting, and in its place to wonder, and, as best as I can, to simply experience and enjoy the month, the feeling of the roundness of the Jewish Year, the gift of forgiveness, and the memories of history.


Wherever you are, I wish you a sweet Rosh Hashanah, full of life, clarity, and the promise of the future. Chag Samaech.