Finding Meaning in Repetition: Rosh Hashanah and Weekly Protests
בינה בפייסבוק בינה באינסטגרם צרו קשר עם בינה במייל

Finding Meaning in Repetition: Rosh Hashanah and Weekly Protests

How is it already the end of the summer? How are we again preparing for Rosh Hashanah?! The disbelief that Rosh Hashanah is upon us is a tradition in and of itself. I am going into Rosh Hashanah this year thinking about traditions and repetition. I am thinking about those repetitions prescribed to us, those necessary in daily life, and those repeated actions that we choose to elevate with ritual. I am thinking about the challenges and opportunities created by repetition.

The High Holidays bring a wide assortment of yearly practices. There are those things we take joy in doing again, and others that can lose luster over time. Some things we do out of necessity, others maybe a sense of obligation, and others by joyful choice. In each of these circumstances, what can we learn, what insights can these repetitions help us attain?  I am thinking about these questions in regard to Rosh Hashana, and also in regard to a new ritual that entered many of our lives this past year: weekly Saturday night protests on Kaplan Street in Tel Aviv, and throughout the country.

It can be hard, performing an action over and over again, continuing to do so with passion, excitement and meaning. This has been true during our 36 weeks of protest, and it can also be true in prayer, work, relationships and in the practice of an art or a skill. So what do these repeated actions offer us?

Rituals can act as anchors, offering an element of stability when we find ourselves deep in change, allowing us to observe and measure what is different. When everything is changing all at once, it is dizzying. When we have a point of stability to measure against, we can better see the movement around it. The same table, surrounded by new friends and missing others. The same meeting point on the street, overwhelmed by more protesters. The same mile, run faster this week. These rituals also give us the chance to reflect on what has changed around us and also what is different inside of us. The same song, with new meaning.

Repetition also creates moments of opportunity, and we never know in which of these moments magic will strike. After listening to hundreds, if not thousands, of blasts from the shofar it was last week, when I was crossing the busy intersection of King George and Dizengoff, under electronic billboards, that the sound pierced me in a totally new and powerful way. The protests happen weekly, and each week someone who thought about joining does so for the first time. There is no predicting when everything comes together for these moments to happen. We can only continue to create the opportunities.

What are your Rosh Hashanah rituals? A special trip to the grocery? Honey cake? Taking out holiday dishes or hearing the melodies of High Holiday prayers? Filling your bicycle tires in preparation for a Yom Kippur ride (if you are in Israel)? As you move through your own traditions may they bring joy, meaning and inspiration to a sweet New Year.

Marcie Yoselevsky is a member of BINA’s External Relations team. Marcie moved to Israel three years ago. She has found and made her home in Tel Aviv. Marcie grew up in New London, Connecticut and lived for many years in New York City, working in the Jewish and modern dance communities.

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