Oh, the Jewish High Holy Days. A time of the year when Reform Jews head to temple for their first and last times of the year. A time where we eat (or don’t eat) apples and honey and sing our favorite Jewish songs from childhood. A time for good food, good company and good times. The Jewish High Holy Days are a time for family.
Unfortunately, I didn’t have the luxury, or privilege rather, of being with my family this past year. I am from Atlanta, Georgia, a city that is quite far from Boston. Coming to school here I knew that I was going to be away from family for a good part of each year. When it came to practicing Judaism at college, I expected to go to Hillel, and just be with friends for the High Holidays. Going home, for me, was out of the question, and I handled it last year. I figured I was going to be fine this year. It turns out, however, that this year was different.
There I was, walking down Commonwealth Avenue on the eve of Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year. I was video calling my family, who were all at my grandmother’s house. They were laughing, talking and eating beautiful brisket. Yes, this year was different. I realized how difficult it was to be so far away. I felt alone. It suddenly hit me that I wasn’t at the house where I had celebrated the Jewish High Holy Days every year since I could remember. I wasn’t at home. I was alone, in the rain, in a city where I had no family. I felt lost.
But it’s OK. I remembered that I have built a family throughout my time at school. I was lucky enough to be able to spend the next night of the holiday with the Jewish friends I have made here at Boston University. But going to college away from your family is a different kind of challenge than I have ever experienced. Yes, I am a sophomore and yes, I should be able to handle it by now. It’s okay to miss my family, though. The next time I go home, it’ll be even more special.