September 07, 2016 Jonah Daniel
From taking a new name, crafting a seasonal wheel, and honoring the death of a loved one, members of our community share the rituals they have created to honor the New Year.
Every year for Rosh Hashanah I take time to reflect on the past year and vision for the coming year. I get out all my craft supplies and make a seasonal wheel of the year, reviewing my relationship to the different seasons, elements and moons. For each element, I make a commitment toward transformation, to shift and grow deeper into the kinds of liberatory power I want to be building. After a day of creative reflection, I move on to create a calendar for the year, from this Rosh Hashanah to the next. The process of binding each page of this book and writing in the coming 13 moons grounds me in time and place. Reminds me of what has lived and died in the past year, in our collective histories, and of what I will continue to fight for and build towards.
way deep down in my deep deep soul there's a river
way deep down from the broad space of my heart move living waters
rosh hashana calls us to move towards freedom by offering generosity, blessings and
transforming our lives to be more holy. there is also a call in the tradition for re-naming. in the
talmud, sarah, foremother of the jews, is named by G-d. a long line of ancestors have committed
to re-naming themselves in honor of sarah's tradition on rosh hashana. this tradition didn't make it
into most rosh hashana prayers, it's said possibly because rabbis did not want people to change their names instead of changing their actions and lives.
this rosh hashana, i hold with love my own name, a name i have chosen for myself. to honor my
trans ancestors, to honor my bubbe and all of the women, gnc (gender non-conforming)and trans people who have channelled our own ritual and jewish magic across space and time. i choose my name to honor my doykeit-hereness and to honor the preciousness of life.
shehechehyanu, v'kiy'manu, v'higianu laz'man hazeh
My father's six-month death anniversary hit on the first day of the Jewish New Year in 2013. I had been holding this guilt in my heart, in every crevice of every pore of my body for having not been there to witness his last breath or wash his body to prepare it for it's next journey. I cried daily trying to wash away the intensity of this seemingly unforgivable sin, but never came up from the cry feeling clean or healed. So, on September 13, I stepped up to Ocean Beach and stripped. I became the stone-- only fitting for an archaeologist's child. I cast myself into that water. I submerged myself over and over again, becoming numb with the Pacific. I have done this every year for the Jewish New Year as a way to honor my new relationship with my father's spirit, with another year of absence and abundance.
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