For me, as an Israeli, Yom Kippur is not only the judgement day, but it also commemorates the beginning of the 1973 Yom Kippur War.
I was born after the war, but I know that it left a big scar on the young state. The words of the ancient prayer Unetanneh Tokef (Who by Fire) took a different meaning to the state of Israel after that war.
Two very well-known songs are based on this Yom Kippur prayer. They have become my playlist on the days leading to Yom Kippur.
The first is Leonard Cohen’s “Who by fire”. The song was written during the war when Leonard Cohen was in Israel. Along with other Israeli singers they visited the Israeli military bases and sang to the troops before they went in to combat.
The second is the Beit Ha’shita Kibbutz melody to the prayer. The melody was composed by Yair Rosenblum in memory of 11 soldiers from the Kibbutz that died in battle. It’s a secular version to those words that have been recited for generations that make me understand the enormousness of the days to come.
I’m attaching these songs for you to listen to.
This year we are not doing a meal for brake fast, but instead we’ll be jumping ahead straight to Sukkot.
גְּמַר חֲתִימָה טוֹבָה
“May you be signed and sealed in the book of life.”
(A greeting used on Yom Kippur)
Sukkot is definitely my most memorable holiday. As I previously mentioned, during my childhood we used to live in an eight story apartment building. There wasn’t enough space in the building for each of the appointments to build their own Sukkah, so we had one big one for all the tenants together. As a kid this was the best, it was almost like living in a communal Kibbutz but better! The food wasn’t prepared in a dining room, but each family brought their own meals and shared with the rest of us. For a foodie young girl like myself this was like a tasting menu in a restaurant before it became so trendy. A melting pot of flavors, colors and textures. I had ingredients and seasoning that I never tasted before. After a huge dinner and singing (we always had singing competition with the other neighborhood Sukkut for who can sing the loudest) some of the kids and parents had a sleepover in the sukkah.
Until today, every meal I cook is inspired from the curiosity and excitement that I remember from those days of Sukkot.