A once in a lifetime experience!
G’mar Chatimah Tovah
I hope our prayers were accepted and heard up above in the chambers of high. This year’s Kol Nidre was indeed a once in a lifetime experience in our congregation. As you may have already heard, Gil’ad Shalit was with us on Kol Nidre. Of course, I was flabbergasted, excited, anxious and thrilled beyond words as I am always when seeing over one thousand congregants gather for the Holy moment of Kol Nidre. Meeting this shy, sweet kid was an unbelievable experience as he walked in with his escorts’ friends, typical Israeli kids, casually dressed .
I was nervous beyond words and could not concentrate on the prayers I have been so used to over so many years . This was not a surprise to me. It was as if I was in a different place the entire service, looking and gazing into his eyes, thinking and imagining what he must feel being in the midst of a grand assembled congregation. As the Rabbi introduced him towards the end of the sermon which was so spiritual and appropriate for Yom Kippur, all about Pidyon Shvuyim, Gil’ad ascended onto the Bimah and read the Prayer for the State of Israel. I stood next to him as tears rolled down my eyes with unprecedented feelings I have never known before, and sang with the congregation as we sing every Shabbat and Festival “Avinu Shebashamayim” T’filah Lishlom Ham’dinah. To my surprise there was no cheering applause or joyful noise but silence and awe in the atmosphere. Everyone was stunned and respectful of K’dushat Hayom.
Here is but one reflection from a congregant and a dear friend which I want t o share with you.
I wish all of you a Chag Sameach and a good, healthy year.
Tonight was unbelievable
First you sang with such a sweet strength, using your voice, cajoling us to give ourselves up to the experience of humbling ourselves before G-d. And then, once you had done so, we were witness to one of G-d’s miracles—to see Gilad Schalit in our Sanctuary—blessing us by his presence and affirming that G-d really is good.
I have been home for 15 minutes and I still can’t stop crying. People were so moved you will never know how much because from the Bima you could not hear/see the joyful tears streaming from their faces. We will never forget tonight.
Thank you for making it magical. I’m sure you were the most overwhelmed of all of us—he may be our soldier, but he really is YOUR chaver, YOUR landsman and YOUR soldier.