Yom Kippur ended just two hours ago. Jews fast on Yom Kippur as a part of penance and as a sign of the solemnity of the Holy Day. And as part of our petition to G-d to save our lives and inscribe us in the Book of Life for the coming year.
The fast is from sundown to sundown. Actually, it is longer. It starts when you last eat before you rush to synagogue to get good seats (our egalitarian synagogue does not have assigned seating) until you eat again the next night — at least 25 hours later, when there are three stars in the sky. But really, this is New York. You can’t see stars and you can’t immediately break the fast. First you have to push people into the street to steal the cab and make your way to your break-fast meal. Because no time like the present to start sinning again and, if you are going to start, you need to do it in a spectacular way, like stealing that cab from people who, only minutes ago, you hugged and kissed and wished a happy and healthy Jewish New Year.
But, I digress.
SOS wanted to fast this year. He is only 11 years-old and I was not a fan of his fasting so young. He was determined, and at points during the day, miserable to be around. But he was steadfast and resisted my entreaties to eat. He spent the whole day in synagogue with us, until the Shofar (ram’s horn) blew at 8pm, ending the Holy Day and the fast. We didn’t start eating until after 9pm.
As we walked to the restaurant for our break-fast meal, SOS said, “I won’t survive another minute!!”
“Sweetie, I promise you will. You are hungry but you won’t expire. Some people live like this.”
“E-Mom, do you know that there are so many kids like me who live in the City and go to sleep hungry? I have never felt this hungry before. This is horrible.”
“Can you imagine being this hungry and going to sleep at night or having to go to school?”
SOS gripped my hand tighter.
“We have to do something about this.”
HOPE AND DREAMS OF THE NEXT GENERATION.