As is the custom, the start of Jewish New Year was last evening at sunset. For some, it is a fresh start and a time for reflection. For those who may not attend synagogue, it may still be recognized and celebrated with family sitting down together for a festive dinner. Traditions continue and are past down from generation to generation. For some it is a favorite recipe that has been shared. Tonight I make my traditional turkey dinner, which was a recipe passed down from my grandmother’s closest friend and I make gefilte fish which is recipe from a friend’s grandmother. For me it is celebrating family and tradition. For those with dementia, familiar food, song and stories can bring calm and happiness.
In my day to day work with families, I see love and care but I also see hurt and even hatred. For feuding families I wonder if this might be a good time to put aside differences and recognize how important family is.
Holidays can also be a difficult time, especially when there has been a death of a loved one over the previous year. It is during the holidays when I believe their absence is felt stronger than ever. An empty chair at the table can be felt very strongly.
For those who celebrate, Happy New Year/Shana Tova.