Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Time of the Signs

Apples in honey and raisins in challah...sounds like the start of a song from The Sound of Music. Indeed, these are a few of our favorite things at this time of year. Signs and symbols of our hopes and prayers for a good year ahead, please G-d.

As I was coming in our side door two weeks ago, I smiled and snapped this shot...

My liriope muscari (aka "monkey grass") was doing its annual late-August thing - sprouting its beautiful lilac-colored flowers. It's a sign to me each year that cooler days - and Rosh Hashanah - are around the corner.

But there's nothing particularly blog-worthy about that. And I really wanted to post something before the new year. Nothing elaborate. Just some signs...signs of fall...signs of Rosh Hashanah...but alas the signs I really want to share are 6,000 miles away!

So I whispered a silent prayer: "Hashem, I want to share your holy City with the world but I'm so far away. Please send me a sign and help me translate it into words and photos."

With His often over-looked sense of humor, He replied - in the form of an email from "Sharon"! Sharon A, that is. Journalist par excellence and photographer of The Real Jerusalem Streets. I've been following Sharon's weekly blog for a few years now and it's wonderful. If you want to know what's really going on around Jerusalem, rjstreets is a good place to start. Sharon covers everything from local art to national politics in a way that the mainstream media do not. But her specialty (imho) is the hustle and bustle of holidays in the holy Land.

Sharon's post that week did not disappoint. In fact, it was just what I needed to jump start my own mental and physical preparations for Rosh Hashanah.

She shared the signs that were once my signs...the nearly-ready pomegranates...

...luscious limes...
(Truthfully, I don't recall seeing lime trees in my neighborhood but there were olives and figs ripening right over the hill.) 

And as with any end-of-summer scenario in the Northern Hemisphere, the signs of the start of a new school year:
"Shalom, First Graders" looks so much happier in Hebrew!
Sharon reminded me (though I didn't really need reminding) of the sounds of the shofar heard every day in the pre-Rosh Hashanah month of Elul, coming from shuls on every street. With the beautiful weather at this time of year, windows are open wide and the shofar blasts were my alarm clock each morning.

Sharon's signs were also a sign to me that, with my posts becoming fewer and farther between, I should let others help you Remember Jerusalem. There are so many excellent blogs written regularly by people who are "on the scene". My new year resolution is to begin highlighting other bloggers in this space. I'll still chime in every now and then - most likely when I'm "on site". May that be soon and often until it's full-time again! Meanwhile, I strongly suggest that you subscribe to rjstreets and please let me know about other blogs that I can highlight here.

Well, there you have it. My "nothing elaborate" post for the new year. I did add a new paragraph to my Rosh Hashanah poem (below) but the bottom line is always the same: "Shana Tova" to you and yours from us and ours. The grown-ups haven't changed much so I'll skip the family photo except to introduce you to the next generation (so far).

Warmest wishes for the best of health,
for simcha and serenity in the new year and beyond...
...from Tehilla, Ayelet, Kaylie and the rest of the clan.

Rosh Hashanah 5779
We ponder again the year in review;
what was accomplished, what's still left to do. 
Looking back, we can count all the ways we've been blessed
and assess how we've scored on G-d's many tests.

So many should’ves and could’ves but didn’t. 
Surely I would’ve if my heart had been in it. 
No more excuses! Or at least not as many. 
Gotta work hard to make hardly any…

What have I learned in the year that has passed? 
That no two people will take the same path.
Be it highway or foot bridge, a road lies ahead. 
Walk yours with G-d, King Solomon said.

Our heartfelt prayers and beloved traditions
see us through challenges and transitions. 
From day to day, from year to year 
our faith and our trust calm every fear.

The years come and go in the circle game. 
Events ever-changing; the cycle, the same. 
Like wood being shaped by the artisan's lathe, 
we marvel at eych ha'galgal mistoveyv.

How do I even begin to say
thank You for all that You’ve sent our way?
For the obvious blessings; the hidden ones, too,
gently prodding me to reach out to You.

We'll begin a new calendar, start a clean slate,
fill it with good deeds and character traits;
with memorable moments and meaningful days, 
months full of emulating G-d’s holy ways.

We'll look for the signs that come from Above, 
signs of Hashem's unconditional love.
Signs of the times, signs of the seasons,
Time to make changes for all sorts of reasons.

Yomuledet Sameyach! Congratulations, dear Earth,
on the 5,779th year since your birth. 
What shall we wish you on your special day? 
Global peace. Gentle weather. Prosperity...

Soon the air will turn brisk; the foliage, bright.
First, the table we'll set and the candles we'll light.
The challahs are baked; the honey dish glistens.
The shofar will blow; to its call we will listen. 

Ripe pomegranates bursting with seeds

remind G-d of our merits, not our misdeeds.
The angels are ready to plead every case 
to the Almighty King Whose judgment we'll face.

May He grant us good health and joy that is true, 
contentment and nachas and simchas "by you". 
Let this be the year that He takes our hands 
and leads us back Home to our holy Land.
May we all exercise our right to return
to our Source, to our Land, to the lessons we learn
from our Torah, the treasure that keeps us alive
as we wait for Mashiach, soon to arrive.

Now we are ready, the holiday's here.
May it be the start of a wonderful year.
As we don our finest, it is so nice to know
that for Rosh HaShanah
 we're all Good to Go!


  1. Ah, thanks! You have made my day, good to see the time and work are apreciated. שנה טובה וכתיבה וחתימה טובה Sharon A

  2. What lovely reading to accompany my morning coffee! Wonderful article, brings cheer to my neshama.amazing how you always know exactly how to express so "on the spot". Glad to hear you guys haven't changed much, that's a brocha!! Gorgeous grandchildren bli ayin hara! A gut gebentcht yur! P.s.tx I will look up this other Sharon! Ada