YOM KIPPUR COUNTDOWN – DAY 4

Posted on October 5, 2011. Filed under: Cakes, Change, Comfort Foods, Dairy, Desserts, Ethnic Recipe, Jewish, Kosher Recipe, My Ramblings, Rainy Day Foods, Recipes, Sour Cream, Yom Kippur | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , |


Personal Change is another theme of Yom Kippur…personal change and a return to values and  ideals that you know are right.  Are those two themes contradictory or are they the same?  Hmmm, I wonder.   I just read a great post about personal change and the High Holidays.  I am copying it right here with the express permission of the website and writer.  This is very generous and I hope you will go to their website to check it out.  The name of the website is Positive Articles and here is the link http://www.positivearticles.com .

The High Holy Days: A Time of Personal Change and Spiritual Return

 

 by Nina Amir

As the leaves on the trees begin to turn, local Jews, as well as Jews all over the world begin the process of t’shuvah, a Hebrew word meaning repentance which comes from the root “to turn or return.” For them, autumn ushers in the High Holy Days, during which they turn their attention away from the distractions of everyday life and toward God, away from outward denial of wrongdoing and toward acknowledgement of sins, away from unwanted behavior and toward repentance.  At this time of year, change is in the air for Jews all around the world.

The High Holy Days include Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, and Yom Kippur, the Day of Repentance.  Thus, this period marks the joyous beginning of a new year as well as a somber period of introspection. However, preparations for the “Days of Awe” – the period between Rosh Hashanah and the end of Yom Kippur, begin on September 8 with the observance of Selichot, a late evening or nighttime service involving the recitation of penitential prayers.  Many Jews take time both with their community and on their own to begin the process of evaluating their own behavior over the past year on this night, and then continue doing so until the last sound of the shofar, the ram’s horn traditionally blown on this holiday, at sundown on Yom Kippur.

Although some Jews observe Selichot for a full month prior to Rosh Hashanah, others begin their observance approximately a week before the start of this holiday. In either case, this religious observance might be likened to a “warm up” for the High Holidays, my old Rabbi Steven Bob of Congregation Etz Chaim in Lombard, once told me.  “Before you go running, you want to stretch a little bit. This is spiritual stretching.  The Selichot service introduces the theme and melodies of the High Holy Days while also stressing God’s royalty and our modest position.  We recognize that God is judging us, but…we don’t want justice, we want mercy,” said Bob.

Selichot marks the first time during the High Holidays that Jews hear the shofar blown. Much symbolism surrounds the blowing of the shofar, but it is most commonly seen as a wake-up call.  Likened to an alarm clock, the shofar says, “Wake up and take a look at the way you’ve been living, and do something about it.” Blowing the shofar on Rosh Hashanah represents a call to return to God. During the year, we tend to stray from the path or get distracted, and we have to come back, turn towards God once again.

At the conclusion of the Selichot service, Jews have a week to begin their self-assessment before Rosh Hashanah.  Although this holiday is a joyous one, it does mark the beginning of 10 days of introspection and repentance.  On Rosh Hashanah the liturgy speaks of people “being written in the Book of Life.”  If they sincerely repent for sins and rectify wrongs from the last year, on Yom Kippur their names are “sealed” in the Book.  If they do not, their names are erased. While this language can be seen as a liturgical poetic image, it serves to remind Jews that what we do counts whether it is well known or whether it is secret. With our deeds, we write on the pages of our own Book of Life.

The Book of Life also provides a beautiful metaphor that reminds us we are fragile and don’t know whether we will survive the year or not.  Should we not survive, it seems a good idea to atone before meeting God and facing whatever fate lies before us.

The stress on being written in the Book of Life also allows Jews to think about the fact that our fate is not sealed forever, that we have an active role in what the future may bring us. Judaism has a doctrine of fee will; thus, we not pawns that play out Divine Will.  The Yom Kippur liturgy stresses this fact, repeating over and over again that repentance, prayer and just actions can avert the severity of the decree.

Change YOUR Channel!

We don’t often think of change as easy.  It seems easier to stay the way we are and where we are.  Yet, change is inevitable and often forced upon us. At this time of year, the Jewish tradition doesn’t force us to change but asks us to change.  We are reminded of the necessity of change – change for the better.

We can see this as an obligation.  We can see it as an opportunity.

Either way, the Jewish New Year offers us a chance – for some of us a second chance in addition to the secular New Year – to look at ourselves, our relationships and our lives and to set new goals, to create new priorities and to make amends for the wrongs we might have consciously or unconsciously, purposefully or accidentally committed over the past 12 months. This, too, can be difficult – to honestly look at ourselves and our deeds.  If we are willing to do the work, however, the period from Selichot to Yom Kippur provides a chance for t’shuvah, to turn towards what we want in our selves, in our lives and in the world, to return to our best selves. It’s a time to write our life for the coming year, to envision the year as we would like it to be and ourselves as we would like to become. And then when we hear the shofar blown in those last moments of Yom Kippur, we know that change has descended upon us. Or, more accurately, we have brought change upon ourselves

Nina Amir, a writer, motivational speaker, workshop leader, and Kabbalistic conscious creation coach, teamed up with Karen Stone, a life and love coach, writer, speaker, and workshop leader to publish “Planting Seeds of Change…And Watching Them Grow.” They co-lead a 4-part Teleseminar Series based on their booklet. The next series begins on September 6th. To enroll, visit http://www.purespiritcreations.com.or call 408-353-1943 or 770-435-2030.

I have been doing a lot of thinking about changing my life and turning it back around.  I have decided that after the holidays I am going to make three changes in my life.  First, I am going to choose a charity project, then I will begin once more to get my house in order and I am going to return to better eating habits.  Possibly, I may even throw some exercise (YUK!) in!!!  I’m not making promises, but I am at least going to try to do these things.  If I fail, well, maybe someone will GENTLY help me get back on track.  I know I can’t go on living the way I have for the past three years.

So how does one change?   First you have to have a self improvement plan and a system for your personal development and growth. Then you need to take consistent and continuous action. When you know in which direction you want to go, you will work on yourself, do all that you can and do your best. This is self help. And you will change and grow.


  •       Identify what is in your control to change.
  •       Identify your options.
  •       Create a support system.
  •       Examine your attitude.
  •       Remain flexible.
  •       Give yourself a break.
  •       Strive to achieve balance and perspective.

Remember, “You must take personal responsibility. You cannot change the circumstances, the seasons, or the wind, but you can change yourself.”~ Jim Rohn Quotes

The above quote is a good one.  If you think about that quote, it will make you remember that you can’t blame anyone for your life.   You’ve made your choices, so you have to blame yourself.  For example, you are really upset with your boyfriend today so YOU decide to splurge on a pint of ice cream, you cannot blame the “fall off the wagon” on him.  It was YOUR decision to “fall off the wagon, not his. And ok, so you “fell off the wagon” today.  Don’t punish yourself, just get back on that wagon and take it day-by-day.  Soon your preferred behavior will become habit and you will make the changes that you want to make.

If you want to make lifestyle changes that last, you must be open to changing it up and not necessarily reusing the same tired plan of attack. Be open to new approaches and to the idea that you might not get to the finish line in the exact way you are currently imagining. In fact, it might even be easier and more fun than you are planning on.

A good example of changing a life style and making it last is when I tried to quit smoking.  I had tried going cold turkey, I tried acupuncture and I tried cutting back.  None of these methods worked for me.  Then one day my Dad said that he would buy me a computer if I quit smoking within a month.  My husband said he would sweeten the deal and buy the printer.  I wanted that computer very badly!  So my husband suggested that I use the filter method to quit smoking.  I did and I had, as the directions suggested, a quitting partner.  The bribery and the filters worked!  To maintain the habit of NOT smoking, my Dad said that if I reverted to smoking, the computer would be his!  To this day, I have been smoke free…that was almost 15 years ago now.  Do I crave cigarettes still?  Yes, but I remember how hard it was to give up the habit so I try not to think about it.  Also, I’m still afraid someone will take my computer away, and I’m hooked on the computer habit!  Good luck on whatever you choose to do to make a positive change this year!  Let me know how you are doing, I’ll be very interested in hearing your stories, success stories, I hope!

Today’s sour cream cake recipe:

Cinnamon Crumb Cake

Cinnamon Crumb Cake

===================

If you like crumb topping as much as cake, this recipe’s for you. A thick layer of cinnamon-spiced crumb topping sits atop coffee cake that starts with a cake mix.

Makes 24 servings.
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes

INGREDIENTS

2 cups flour
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons McCormick® Cinnamon, Ground
1 cup (2 sticks) cold butter, cut into chunks
1 package (18 1/4 ounce) white cake mix
1 egg
1 cup sour cream
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, melted
1 teaspoon McCormick® Pure Vanilla Extract

DIRECTIONS

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Mix flour, sugars and cinnamon in large bowl.  Cut in cold butter with pastry blender or 2 knives until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Set aside.

2. Beat cake mix, egg, sour cream, melted butter and vanilla in large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed about 1 minute or just until mixed.

3. Spread evenly in greased and floured 13×9-inch baking pan. Sprinkle evenly with topping mixture.

4. Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until cake pulls away from sides of pan.

Cool on wire rack. Cut into squares to serve.

Tips

To make a Blueberry Crumb Cake: Prepare topping and batter as directed. Spread batter in baking pan. Sprinkle with 1 cup blueberries, then the topping mixture. Bake 45 minutes.

NUTRITION INFORMATION – per serving

Calories: 265

Fat: 13 g

Carbohydrates: 34 g

Cholesterol: 41 mg

Sodium: 226 mg

Fiber: 1 g

Protein: 3 g

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