This week's Yizkorbook excerpt on the JewishGen Facebook page #belarus #ukraine #yizkorbooks

Bruce Drake

Rosh Hashanah begins this evening, and here I bring you two excerpts from Yizkor books about the holiday, one from Gorodets in Belarus and the other from Podhajce in Ukraine.
The sounds of the shofar fill these memories of Gorodets in its chapter titled “Rosh Hashanah” and of Podhajce in its telling of “The First Day of Rosh Hashanah, and the Observance of Tashlich.”
In the crowded Gorodets synagogue there is “a holy stillness…An intense chill runs through the body. The sound of the shofar is carried throughout the whole street. The tones produced by the shofar feel like an effusion – outpouring of a desolate spirit of hundreds and hundreds of years of living in the Diaspora, mixed with the closeness to God.”
In Podhajce, “The crowds of worshippers reached the river, and their lips uttered the Tashlich prayer, whose main theme is to “cast to the depths of the sea all of their sins.” The author writes “when the prayer was done, “personal oppression was lifted from the heart. However, the masses of worshippers remained standing at the banks of the river without moving. The last rays of sunlight lit up their faces. As I looked around, I saw the bent forms of those standing in prayer at the banks of the river straighten out.”

Bruce Drake
Silver Spring MD

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