Runway to the Days of Awe 4: Clothing

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 Dear CBI Members and Friends,

Some of you have asked: if we’re gathering digitally for the Days of Awe, does that mean we can invite our friends and family who aren’t in northern Berkshire to join us? The answer is YES!

Feel free to forward these notes to your friends and family who live elsewhere, and invite them to join the CBI email list so they can receive links for connecting to our services during the Days of Awe. This offers us new opportunities to build community and experience our interconnections in new ways.

In the second post in this series, I talked about making our home prayer space feel special and how to prepare a home space for Zoom prayer. (That post has now been updated with an illustration of what it might look like to ready our space for Zooming into the New Year — deep thanks to Steve Silbert for that!)

This week’s suggestion for high holiday preparations has to do with clothing. Just as a white tablecloth can transform a regular table into a sacred space, clothes can help us transform how we feel in body, heart, mind, and spirit.

One of my earliest high holiday memories is of going shopping with my mom in August, looking for a new fall outfit to wear to High Holiday services. (It was also always far too hot in south Texas to wear heavy wool fall clothes at Rosh Hashanah, but somehow I remember doing so anyway… )

This year many of us may not be shopping, for budgetary reasons or for covid-19 reasons. But I want to encourage us to choose something special to wear for Zoom services, even if it’s something we already own.

Even though we’ll be participating from home (and therefore could show up in pajamas or sweatpants), resist that temptation! Instead make your pre-holiday shower into a spiritual “mikvah,” washing away the schmutz of the old year, and put on something special. Choose clothes that are comfortable and in which you feel good. On Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur morning, if you’re going to engage in our annual moment of Jewish yoga (prostration / child’s pose on the floor during the Great Aleinu), make sure you’re wearing clothes that allow for movement.

Getting a bit dressed up is a way of physically reminding ourselves that we’re entering a festival. Even when we’re celebrating from home, we can harness the embodied experience of dressing up to help lift us out of ordinary consciousness and ordinary time. 

And on Yom Kippur, remember the tradition of wearing white throughout the holiday, symbolizing purity and new beginnings. You can read more about that here: Preparing for Yom Kippur.


Rabbi Rachel

The Runway to the Days of Awe

Week One: Seven Weeks Until Rosh Hashanah
Week Two: Creating Sacred Space at Home
Week Three: Music
Week Four: Clothing