Last Wednesday evening, a packed and energetic House witnessed SpeakeasyDC’s inaugural performance at the Washington, DC Jewish Community Center.
Featuring eight performers, presided over by host Amy Saidman, these accounts of personal brushes with atonement, guilt and forgiveness were as diverse as the people on stage. Some stories focused on cheating at Scrabble games or grade school theft of $.60 beads, yet others touched upon violence, illness and familial death. But what grabbed me most about these accounts was one similarity–everyone made at least one moment extremely funny. I had a stitch in my side when I was leaving the theater!
I suppose it’s strange timing when considering that Yom Kippur is the most solemn day on the Jewish calendar, but I’ve been considering my own mistakes and blunders, how to start fresh for the new year. I know that I often take myself too seriously. It’s important, sometimes, to brush off life’s lessons with a smile, and realize that perhaps the most precious gift life can give, according to many religious sages at least, is joy. One of the beautiful things about Yom Kippur and the Days of Awe is how focused they are–enough time to do the serious soul-searching and repentance that is needed, then back into the world with a lighter conscience.
If you’ve been doing some soul searching on what the High Holidays mean to you, get in touch with the DCJCC about their Atonement Project film, featuring personal reflections from prominent members of the District and possibly you. The finished product will be available streaming on the web site and in the lobby from Aug. 27 to Sept. 12.
And make sure you get your tickets to services–here are some options, courtesy of GTJ, for those without synagogue membership. Chag sameach and shanah tova!