A trip to the cemetery on Erev Yom Kippor is a different way to experience and reflect on the upcoming day. There are the usual tables set up for people collecting money. Families with water bottles busy working on cleaning the kever of their loved ones. Just being surrounded by people who understand what it means to stay inside for Yizkor.
Then there are the changes that have taken place since the last visit. They are in the process of starting to build a new section in front of where Rachel is located. They also took a big chunk of the parking lot and turned it into a new section of the cemetery which already has a large percentage already full. I also noticed off to one side what looked like a kever for a baby.
This year has been full of changes. My struggle for personal growth has been focused on life is different now. Challenges from the past remain in the past and although they may sometimes seem similar to ones I face now, I can handle them. Shlomo's birth has brought so much joy into my life. His bris was a reminder of just how much love is around me. Channah's entire class decided to surprise her by showing up to celebrate with her. Shlomo's daily 'Good Morning World' Facebook status have been constant reminders of how many people care about our day to day life. I had one friendship that was more than just burning a bridge. It was more like lighting the bridge on fire and then nuking the remainder to make sure it could never be repaired. This week the first steps were taken to rebuilding that friendship.
This summer we sent Channah to Canada for 6 weeks. It was a chance for her to spend time with all her different grandparents and build relationships with family that lives far away. It was an incredible experience for her and she grew up over the summer.
In the mean time over the summer we surprised Channah with a complete room makeover. The central focus on the changes was a bunk style bed with a desk underneath along with a super oversized brand new bean bag chair. Along with the new room we have given Channah a lot of responsibility to prepare her for the transition from Grade 6, to applying for schools for Grade 7 next year.
We have also been focused on putting together her Bat Mitzvah. In the end we have decided to do what is best for her by having a celebration in Israel for her friends and having something in Toronto over the summer for her family.
The biggest wake up call for me was friends making the decision to leave the neighbourhood. It was the one family that I really feel their absence. Their absence is felt all the time. It really made me think about where my priorities should be for my family and the best way to attain them. With Channah needing to change schools and a lease coming to an end it is the perfect time to make the right transition.
Peri and I spent a good part of the summer looking at different communities. Evaluating the pluses and minuses of each community reflect where we see our future and what we would potentially have to give up to obtain them. It also confirmed what I already knew. This community has a lot of positives going for it, in spite of the local politics and incompetent administration. A decision has been made and we look forward to bringing it to fruition in the coming year.
During this time period there are 4 extra prayers into our 3 times daily Shmonei Esrei. The first two ask for life. The third one is asking for a good life. Finally right at the end we ask for a good life with blessings, peace and prosperity. It is not that long ago that I went into Yom Kippor praying for 'time served'. All I wanted was life that just wasn't as much torture of it was up until that point. I have reached a stage where I don't just want life. I want a good life for my family that is filled with happiness where we can reach our potential. The fact that I can say that shows how much the broken pieces of my heart have healed.
Shannah Tova. Gmar Hatima Tova. Chag Kasher Sameach. May we not only be sealed in the book of life but sealed in the book of life for a good and prosperous year.