As in the previous year, I was again in Uman this Rosh Hashanah with my friends Daniel and Yaniv, who both traveled from Israel. At the end of Friday evening services, as we planned to leave the packed Ashkenazic synagogue where we had prayed, Yaniv and I found the aisle obstructed by two friends who were embracing each other. Rather than stepping aside when the two friends realized they were blocking our exit, they drew Yaniv and me into their hold. At the end of this group hug, one of the young men said in Hebrew, “Now let us see us do this is in Israel!” Indeed, one of the challenges posed by intense religious or communal experiences is how to carry that energy from a specific time and place into day-to-day living. Read More


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