Yom Kippur

Today was Yom Kippur, a day set aside for atonement and contemplation.

I fasted as usual, which was easier this year than sometimes.

I also attended services, via Zoom. I really like our rabbi, and he didn't disappoint this year. I sadly missed a good chunk of his sermon, but what I did catch urged compassion even with those we disagree with. He quoted Desmond Tutu and the Dalai Lama, and referred to them both with great reverence. I am not there yet - I can't find the compassion for those on the other side of the political spectrum from me.

It is hard to find common ground with people who espouse hate and intolerance, and honestly I'm not terribly interested in finding it. Our rabbi mentioned one of my favorite lines from the passover haggadah, where the Egyptians are dying in the red sea and the angels rejoice, and G-d says "my creatures are dying, and yet you sing praises?" He said to remember that we are all G-d's creatures, regardless of our beliefs. He's right of course, but for me right now I can't get there - there is too much damage being done to the country and the planet in the name of so-called conservatism.

And I'm scared. I'm terrified of what will happen if Biden loses the election. Even if he wins, the coronavirus will remain a threat, as will the American nazis that 45 has emboldened. I spent some time corresponding with a Canadian immigration expert last week because I am worried that we might need an escape plan if the election goes the wrong way. It looks like we won't qualify for Canadian residency, which is very disappointing, even though we had hoped we wouldn't need to use it.

My sister says that leaving the country is the wrong thing to do, and that we need to focus our energies on fixing what's broken here at home. She is probably right, but she also doesn't have children to worry about. As an attorney she is more able to do actual good in the country than I am as a programmer. I keep sending money to Biden and other worthy candidates and causes. It is pretty much the only thing I can do right now.

And I wonder what I could do to be a better person in this new year. I can try to be slower to anger with my children. I can continue to send money and support to good causes after the election. I can try to be more mindful of my carbon footprint and my impact on the planet. And I can do my best to raise kids who are anti-racist and kind, and who have that compassion that the rabbi talked about. They're still too young to really understand empathy or compassion, but I'll be working on it with them this year.