Over the last two years I’ve led some of the High Holiday services at an alternative egalitarian minyan, and it’s been a good experience. I’ve read Alan Lew’s (z”l) ‘This Is Real and You Are Completely Unprepared’ (the most meaningful companion to the season I’ve ever seen) and managed to make the experience somehow personal for me. This year Grassroots Jews promises to take it a step further. I pray, live, eat, have fun, sing and work with many of the people involved, so why not for Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur too?
Thankfully I don’t have to choose between family and friends, as my mother has also seized the opportunity to be involved in something new, spiritual and uplifting. For some people the High Holies are about the familiarity of their shul, and being with family in a place and at a time they know. For me, they have become about personal reflection, an experiential, psychological stage in the yearly cycle. This is why I am involved in Grassroots Jews.
Joel is an actor, director and educator with a background in Jewish community work. Joel is a founding member and resident of Moishe House London, the Jewish community house in Willesden Green. Joel is also the only Storah Telling Maven based in the UK.