Friday, 7 September 2007

High Holidays

Erev Rosh Hashanah~29 Elul (12 September)--Light Candles at 06:10pm
Rosh Hashana~01 Tishri (13 September)--Light Candles at 7:25pm
Shabbat~02 Tishri (14 September)--Light Candles at: 6:08pm
03 Tishri (15 September)--Shabbat Ends: 7:23pm
The month of Elul brings the High Holidays. What does this mean to a convert?
A convert experiencing the "first" Elul, especially in Israel may be a bit overwhelmed--I would suggest finding a transliterated Machzor. When I started to become observant this allowed me to follow the service (and understand what was being said) I experienced...well, I really can't describe it, but I pray that I can reach that level again.
Starting this Motzei Shabbat many shuls have slichot--usually beginning around 11:45pm--in preparation for Rosh Hashanah. Many synagogues also have reserve seating during these days, so sure to check with your vaad. There are many good sites for information on the Holy Days, but one must be cautious and be sure to consult with your local rabbi on all issues of Halacha.
I think the most difficult thing is when a convert has not yet completed the process. In your heart and mind you feel Jewish, but you are still a "gentile to the community". It can be a time of stress, pain, and even depression. Those who were blessed to be born Jewish often do not understand how difficult it is for the convert--everyone is so involved with their own family and customs. Perhaps this is just another hurdle that one must overcome in the quest to become Jewish. It is difficult, but it can also be a time of sincere, soul-searching prayer. Find a good teacher, follow the customs of your community, concentrate on finding the true meaning of the High Holy days.
May we all merit to be written into the Book of Life to have a happy, healthy and successful year for us, our families, and all Israel...Shanah Tovah

Tribute for the Pop-Star Tenor

While it has nothing to do with Judaism, I decided to include this small tribute. It was announced that Luciano Pavarotti (12 October 1935~06 September 2007), died today of pancreatic cancer at age 71.

Why the tribute? Well, I was never a true opera fan until I heard Pavarotti~his outstanding voice and zest for life made me a fan. I discovered a new genre of music that I had been missing, although I confess that there are some "opera voices" that make me cringe.

Pavarotti was the greatest tenor of our times. What made him so special was not just his voice, but his presence and personality. A man of humble origins he had a desire to bring opera to the "people" and during his life managed to reach people round the world. He sang with pop, rock and soul musicians and raised money for many worthy causes worldwide. One of his last performances was the 2006 Winter Olympics in Torino Italy, where he showed that he was still the best (See 2nd Video Below).

His signature tune, Nessun Dorma, from Turandot (famous for the last verse where he declares "I will win, I will win") became the theme song for the 1990 World Cup in Italy~Go Ahead and Watch~You Might Even Enjoy It!

While he wasn't Jewish, I kind of like to think that Hashem will have a place for the golden voice of Luciano Pavarotti in the World to Come.

FIFA World Cup 1990~Pavarotti Brings Opera to the World

Torino Winter Olympics 2006~Nessun Dorma

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