Friday, September 14, 2007


I am an unobservant Jew. Maybe secular Jew is better. Unobservant makes it sound like I don't notice things. In any case, I am not so lapsed that I am not aware that the Jewish new year is upon us. Between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, Jews are supposed to repent for their failings and mis-steps of the past year, to seek forgiveness before the words written in the book of life are made permanent. Rosh Hashanah (which was yesterday) is a day that is meant for prayer and reflection. No work should be performed. I do not belong to a synagogue, and it feels wrong to me to take off work and not participate in ceremonies. (I have really enjoyed Rosh Hashanah services when I have gone, but as I often do, I waited too long before thinking about whether I might find someplace to go this year. For Jews this is the toughest ticket of the year.)

So in lieu of a day of prayer and reflection, I offer some of the things I wish I had done differently this year:

  • I was not always as nice to Chris as I should have been. Taking for granted that he loves me, I can be less respectful or polite to him than I am with other people. That isn't fair.
  • I care more about my blog stats than I would like to. It is shallow and not part of why I started the blog. Plus it can make me feel like crap.
  • I have not worked as hard as I could have. Or should have.
  • More than once I have know that someone was in pain and could have used my time, but I was not willing to give up my free time or listen to their needs.
  • I wasn't honest or clear about my needs, and then I resented people for not taking those unexpressed needs into consideration.
  • And of course there is the usual list of petty jealousies, aggressions and poor driving.
Whatever your religion (or lack of it), I hope the coming year is a sweet one for you. (Just to be sure, you might want to have a little snack of apples and honey.)


  1. This post is something I needed to read. I am an unobservant member of the C of E with unobservant embracing all possible definitions. Where are my keys?

  2. L'shana tovah. Thank you for the thoughtful list -- I need to spend a little time between now and Yom Kippur composing my own, which I think will have some similar items. I did not observe this year (kids went to school, I went to work) and am coming to terms with how I observe and what I teach my children about being Jewish.

  3. Your list was most uncomfortably familiar. I may not be Jewish but I could certainly use a little more reflection.

  4. I'm just plain unobservant. (For example, I had a rental while my car was being repaired, and it took me three days to realize it had a sunroof.)

  5. (un)relaxeddad9/15/2007 4:31 AM

    I'm an apostate Catholic so I have a role in life, though it mostly consists of guilt. But I observe guilt very strictly.

    If I had a pound for every time I sneaked a look at my stats...

  6. somewhere along the way, going to temple stopped feeling observant for me and instead made me feel hypocritical since i spent most of that time looking for or visiting with my old friends who were all home from wherever they now lived. so observing, for me, now means doing exactly what you did in this post.

    what more reflection could you ask for as we roll toward the day of atonement. bravo you.