Friday, October 07, 2011

Cheeseburgers for Yom Kippur...

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. 


Liz said...

i think simple traditions like these are powerfully transforming. this would be a wonderful article to share with parents whose children are bereaved in some way, especially since they have had this tradition together for such an extended period of time.

btw-- what is that tree that is pictured at the top of this post? it is BEAUTIFUL...


Rach said...

Interesting article, Shrink Rappers. This comment in particular was very stirring: What happens if you are in a terribly sad place when the gates of heaven close?
How do you make peace with God when you're in a hospital? Perhaps I should eat a cheeseburger today.

tracy said...

Wait, wait...first you said cheeseburgers...then the author said...."hamburgers with onions...".

Cheseburgers would not be Kosher.

No, not Jewish, just a very interested bystander.