Thursday September 6, 2012

Apple season is coming early. I saw my first mention of local apples this week, at Whitney’s. I know the mythical fruit of Genesis was not an apple, but as I watch and listen to my friends preparing for Rosh Hashanah, it feels fitting that the Jewish New Year comes, in New England, when the apples are ripe.

Close friends bless Shabat candles on the deck and convince their toddlers to wait to drink their juice, and they welcome me in to the ritual. It’s as natural as singing happy birthday. Tonight, when they light candles, my family will light our own for my brother, who turns 28 as I write this.

And on Saturday night at 6, one local congregation will invite the whole community to learn how the High Holidays feel -- and what a time of reflection can do.

Congregation Beth Israel will begin the High Holiday season with a staged reading of Merle Feld’s play, "The Gates Are Closing," directed by David Lane. All are welcome, and the evening is free.

Feld tells the stories of 10 people meeting to pray on Yom Kippur and facing themselves. It is a play full of tough and liberating honesty. Feld has hold of a vital feeling too few people try to invoke: the feeling of telling something you have carried alone. The weight lifts, and you are sad and tired and released and reminded that things can make sense again, as Feld says. And you are left with the rebuilding.

"So long as Adam pretends that hiding is possible, he cannot begin to find his way," Feld’s Rabbi tells his people. "God asks ‘where are you?’ to awaken Adam, to bring him out of hiding. Today is the day for you and me ... to come out of hiding."