Yom Kippur, the day of atonement, is a solemn Jewish holiday. It occurs at the beginning of the new year, and marks the end of a period of reflection. While it the usual tradition to fast, Danielle Gelfand has a moving editorial in the New York Times where she talks about a tradition she has of eating cheeseburgers on the beach with her mother as they remember her father who died many years ago of suicide. The author writes:
For the last 18 years, my mother and I have spent Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the Jewish calendar, at Tod’s Point beach in Old Greenwich, Conn., near where I grew up and where my mother still lives. I’m a TV producer living in Brooklyn now, but I still go back every year. My mom reads my father’s old prayer book while I order lunch for us from the greasy concession stand that stays open into the fall, double hamburgers with grilled onions and French fries.
To those who fast during the holiday, our version of a High Holy Happy Meal might seem sacrilegious, but we didn’t always spend it this way. We used to go to temple like everyone else. But when I was 17, my father, who had just turned 59 and had suffered from depression for many years, shot himself in the head. The police found his body two days later, on the eve of Yom Kippur.
Do read the whole article at Years of Atonement.