happy new year
Even when she is unable to celebrate with family or friends, for S it has always been important to find some kind of Jewish connection while abroad. In Latin America, there was always a synagogue or Chabad (a sect known for their outreach) but on this continent, outside of South Africa, one has to get more creative. In Ghana, for example, S visited a Ghanaian Jewish community and attended impromptu services when a set of Chabadnick boys unexpectedly showed up in Accra for the high holidays.
Surprisingly enough, not only is there a synagogue in Nairobi – Nairobi Hebrew Congregation – but it has been around for over 100 years. Given its downtown location, Nairobi’s hectic traffic, and D’s reluctance to embrace his Jewish roots, S doesn’t go nearly as often as she’d like to, but the coming of the new year tends to provide the impetus for her to attend services.
Rosh Hashanah (lit. the head, rosh, of the year) – as well as the month that precedes it and the ten days that follow – are meant to be a time for t’shuvah, a returning to one’s true self. It is said that t’shuvah was one of the seven things God created before the world. Time did not exist then, so t’shuvah does not require lengthy analysis or practice. All that is needed is the will to relinquish the grip on one’s conceits and preoccupations to return to one’s original self and start the new year afresh.
May this year bring wonder, excitement, peace, and happiness.