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We’ve arrived! My husband and I have taken a road trip, and the first part of our agenda is attending the Couples for Liberty five-day workshop at Hillsdale College—lessons on shooting guns and on understanding the Constitution. We originally signed up for the workshop in May, but we had court dates assigned for the same time and we had to be there. But we found out there were two slots open for Hillsdale’s September workshop. They let us make the switch, and we were delighted–
–until a few weeks ago I realized that Yom Kippur fell during the same week. (I thought I also had a conflict with Rosh Hashanah, but there wasn’t a scheduling problem.)
Many of you know that I have returned to Judaism after practicing Buddhism for 20 years. I’m not an observant Jew, but I’ve tried to observe many of the holidays and adopt the mitzvahs as a recommitment to my faith and to G-d. And now I had a conflict with one of the most important holy days of the year.
I was deeply conflicted about this problem. My husband isn’t Jewish and it wouldn’t have been fair to cancel the workshop. If he weren’t involved, would I have canceled? Honestly? Probably not.
Ignoring this error was not in my nature; “responsible” is my middle name. I wanted a way to work with this situation that had at least some integrity. Since I was not going to cancel, what could I do?
Mrs. iWe encouraged me to work with the situation as best I could. My Torah study partner told me I should forget about guilt; we’re supposed to be happy this time of year. I also figured that G-d would not be impressed with my guilt, since it was a meaningless gesture.
Acknowledging that I was compromising my priorities was important to me. I will not make excuses. I made my choices and it was clear that beating myself up, rationalizing my decision or ignoring the situation was not acceptable.
I thought about how I could bring meaning to Yom Kippur so that this time of year to acknowledge my sins and ask for forgiveness would not be lost. So I contacted Hillsdale College.
Now some of you are thinking, Seriously? Hillsdale is a Christian College. Ah, but it is also conservative in its values. So I took the chance that somewhere nearby, some type of Yom Kippur service would be held.
I was correct.
A student and visiting professor have organized a service. At this moment, I have contacted them by voicemail and email, and am waiting to hear the specifics. I am prepared to give up some workshop time to pray with others. I don’t know what G-d will think, but at least I’m not making excuses.
I’ll let you know how it went.