Sunshine filters through leafy trees along the banks of a quiet stream.

Reflections during the High Holidays

Here at Jewish Care Interact, we decided to ask members of the community what Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur means to them. Here's a recap of their thoughts.

Chasiya Freilich: “For me, Rosh Hashanah is a time for reflection, spiritualisation and coming together with family. It’s a time for repenting and reflecting. I find it meaningful and spiritual, and it's my time to reflect on my relationship with G-d.”

Alison Rubenstein: “I think we live in a very busy world. We all work hard, and we’re juggling lots of different things. This time of year is an opportunity to just take a breath, stop and think, and hope that one can maybe do things a bit more constructively in the future.”

Keith Barnard: “I don’t like things being imposed upon me at certain times of the year. Every day is a time for reflection throughout the whole year—a reflection on our relationship with G-d.”

Matt Kayne: “Rosh Hashanah is a time to think about life and how I can be better.”

Rosalind Myrna Brown: “I am not religious, but I’m very proud to be Jewish. Rosh Hashanah means a lot to me, because it’s the Jewish New Year, and it’s hopeful for the future. Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, is a time of reflection. It’s a time to be sorry for any harm that you may have done to anyone and to make your peace with Hashem.”

Richard Goodeneay: "The holidays make me feel really nostalgic. While I'm in shul on Yom Kippur, I sit there for several hours, and I just feel contented. I think about prayers and the service, and I just forget everything."

Brenda Bloch: "It's a chance for me to reflect on the year that's gone and think about the way I've behaved and how I might behave differently. It's an opportunity for reflection about yourself and whether you can perhaps make some small changes over the coming year. On a different level, I think about the people who aren't here anymore, like my parents, and it makes me feel closer to them, particularly during the mourning prayers."

Alex Sofizade: "I believe there is a force up there and a lot of things we can't explain. This force is more apparent, more evident and more significant at this time of year, because we are more focused in our prayers."

Yetta Powell: "I lost my husband in June, so I will be thinking of him and other family members (like my parents) and friends I used to know. I'll be thinking of them all and sending them love."

Simon Morris: "I particularly enjoy Yom Kippur as (by spending virtually the whole of my waking hours in Synagogue without the interference of modern technology and other demands) I can focus on things that get crowded out of my mind during the rest of the year. This year was particularly good, as I was fortunate enough to be able to share the day with my family and friends in the synagogue.”

Feeling inspired?

Have these thoughts inspired you to take some time for personal reflection? Do the holidays bring up different feelings for you? We’d love to hear from you! Post your thoughts in our forum, or get in touch through our Facebook or Twitter pages.

Further reading 

Read spiritual posts about the High Holidays at Aish.com.

Go to Chabad.org to find information on the history and traditions of Rosh Hashanah and explorations of Yom Kippur, as well as some interesting personal views and practical ideas on how to contribute to festivities.

You can also find more information about Jewish festivals throughout the year on the Jewish Care Interact website.

Listen to this page: