Friday, October 3, 2014

To Fast or Not?

Kol Nidre night of the Yom Kipur of the War, was spent in the disco of Ein Dor. It was the first time since my bat mitzvah that I was not fasting. This was because I was living on the kibbutz where no one seemed even to know about Yom Kipur. My first Yom Kipur there was so strange, because it was a day like any other and I worked in the children's house just like on any other day of the year. Growing up in South Africa it was a really special day, and everyone went to the synagogue and everyone fasted.
When the war broke out the next day I silently vowed to myself that if we all survived, then I would fast every Yom Kipur from then on. We did not all survive, but nevertheless, I kept to my vow and have always fasted - except for last year, Yom Kipur 2013. It was 40 years since the war, and I was on Kibbutz Ein Dor. Over the years, many things had changed, including Yom Kipur. For Kol Nidre there was a lovely, meaningful service next to the moadon (clubhouse.) Many people fasted and observed Yom Kipur. I was staying with a good friend and would be there for only that night - as usual it was extremely hot. We went to the cemetery very early in the morning and spent time sitting under the trees, amongst the graves, talking, remembering, just being. The thing that was completely different for me was that I did not fast. The friend I was staying with had asked other friends over for dinner, and for me it was more important to be with them thnt to be alone and to fast.
The sky did not fall, the earth did not open - the day continued and ended with the blowing of the shofar, night came, dawn came, another day ......
This year I am in America, and have decided that I shall fast, and I realize way - it is this symbolic act which ties me to the unbroken chain of my 'tribe,' to my ancestors, and here in the diaspora I do not want to break that chain.

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