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Impact Fellowship Blog

High Holidays in Hod HaSharon- Sofia Freedman

Celebrating the High Holidays back at home with my family has always been something that I look forward to. Whether it is learning the significance of the holidays in school, preparing meals with my family, and attending services it has always been a delight. But since starting at a public school last year, and with the pandemic closing everything down, I was not able to enjoy those experiences for the first time.

Instead of big meals with family and friends, we were only able to celebrate with our immediate family. Rather than going to synagogue, we prayed in the comfort of our own home. It was difficult to try to replicate our past holiday experiences without being able to do these things.

This is why being able to celebrate the high holidays at Alexander Muss has been so fulfilling, because not only have I been able to spend them with friends, but I get to appreciate this experience in Israel where the history behind these holidays’ unfolded. Despite still being in quarantine during Rosh Hashanah, we were still able to have a nice Seder outside with our quarantine capsule and learn about the significance of Rosh Hashanah. It was unfortunate not being able to celebrate as a whole group, but it was a wonderful opportunity to get to know my capsule mates better.

Although our Rosh Hashanah Seder was small, it was meaningful and worthwhile. So far the holiday that has resonated with me the most has been Yom Kippur. To celebrate we visited Jerusalem to help enhance our educational experience. On our way back from Erev Yom Kippur services we encountered a group of students singing traditional prayers on the empty streets. We were offered the opportunity to join along with them in song. So far this has been my favorite memory of my trip, because I found myself having this deep connection and feeling of community with people that I have never met before. I enjoyed every second of it, from visiting the Western Wall to walking along the empty streets of Jerusalem with my new friends.

Sofia Freedman