Rosh Hashanah has for many years been a mixed blessing of a holiday for me. It starts with joyous food, apples and honey, challah baked with love and blessings for a sweet and healthy New Year. The period ends with erev Yom Kippur, an evening of rushed early dinners and plenty of water before the fast and a rush to the synagogoue so as not to miss Kol Nidrei, the most beautiful service of the week. The lilting melody is a mindful recognition of the solemnity of the day to come where most of the day is spent in prayer and heartfelt cleansing of the year’s soul. We fast and are reminded to be hungry for peace, hungry for compassion, hungry for empathy, hungry for a better year and a better future. We repent for collective misdeeds and atone for them as well. I am reminded of the Hawaiian practice of Ho’oponopono where the prayer is, “ I am Sorry, Please Forgive me, I love you. Thank you.” I choose to use this as my prayer to myself, my loved ones and the world around me. It is also a time where any loss is acutely felt, whether it was a long ago loss or a recent one. For a couple of decades, I am reminded on this day of loved ones passed, a miscarriage of a longed for third child that occurred right before Rosh Hashanah so many years ago. This year will be different. I will stand for Mourner’s Kaddish for the first time after losing my dearest Mama this past summer. It will be an even more emotional prayer this year, a personal and deeply felt recent loss. It may debride the start of the scab that has started to form on my heart and break open and I will feel the pain of grief once again. Then as we move through the service of putting the year behind us and readying ourselves for dusk and sealing the Book of Life for the year, I will feel spent but mindful that life always begins anew and the blessings of love continue to shower my growing family and friends. I will break the fast, drink a little wine and fall into deep slumber, knowing I always do the best I can and I will continue to pursue the gifts life gives to my soul and share them with others. May you be inscribed in the Book of Life for a happy, healthy and fulfilling year. L’shana tova.