There’s an old adage that there are two kinds of Jews: Purim Jews, and Yom Kippur Jews. Purim Jews (or Simchat Torah
Jews) find their deepest connection and satisfaction in the joy and revelry of those holidays. Yom Kippur Jews find
that satisfaction and connection — and even joy — in the more somber introspection of the High Holidays.
I happen to be a Yom Kippur Jew.
I love the sound of the shofar and the soulful melodies of the prayers. I find deep meaning in the words of the prayerbook.
And I find that the whole process of teshuvah, usually translated as “repentance” or “return,” helps me deal with the
challenges of my life and the pain of the world, allowing me to feel more comfortable in my skin, and even helping me
inhabit the joys of my life more deeply.
This past year has been difficult for all of us. For a while, the COVID plague seemed set to be lifting, with a vaccine
that held the promise of immunity, and things gradually opening up. But here we are today, with the more virulent delta
variant, mask mandates coming back, and once again with the option of attending the High Holiday services in our
sanctuary via Zoom. Our political discourse continues to be plagued by ugliness and divisiveness, the security situation
in Israel remains frightening, and the news on our climate just seems to get more and more dire.
Some people say the High Holiday season begins on the ninth of Av, the traditional commemoration of the destruction of
our ancient Temples in Jerusalem, which represents our pain at the brokenness of our world. Some say it starts even earlier,
on the 17th of Tammuz, which marks the breaching of the walls of Jerusalem by the Romans. For us in Winthrop, this year
the brokenness of the world was on full display the day before that, on June 26, with the baffling racist attack on our
community. Even as we come to celebrate the New Year, our tradition invites us to take a clear-eyed look at the pain of
our world, as well as at the pain of our own shortcomings.
Especially if you’re a Purim Jew, you might ask yourself: why would anyone actually enjoy such a downer? And yet, if
you’ve ever participated in High Holiday services, you’ve got to admit there’s quite a bit of joy there. The paradox is,
that the more deeply we engage with the tradition, and with that unflinching clear-eyed look at ourselves and our world,
the more joy we tend to find. (If you want a secular view of the link between experiencing the joys and pains of our life —
all anchored in scientific research — check out the work of Brené Brown brenebrown.com/videos. You won’t regret it!)
If you’ve ever done that — ever deeply engaged with the process of the High Holidays, you’ve probably noticed there’s a
certain lightness and aliveness that can be experienced in the celebration of Sukkot and Simchat Torah following a heartfelt
Yom Kippur. These rituals may not have the power to change our world, but they do have the power to transform how we live
in it. And that is a significant power indeed.
So this year, I’d like to invite you to join us as we celebrate the New Year, and once again seek to transform how we live
in the year that unfolds.
Leshanah tovah umetuka tichateivu vetichateimu!
May you and yours be written and sealed for a good and sweet year!
The Israeli Air Force (IAF) Museum is located near Beer Sheva, in the north of the Negev.
Dedicated to the history and preservation of the Israeli Air Force (IAF), the museum showcases over 150 airplanes and much,
much more. It is an affiliated and aerial counterpart to the Clandestine Immigration and Naval Museum in
The Museum is located in the desert at the Hatzerim Air Force Base. One can often see and hear IAF
planes flying above the museum during a visit. The museum’s exhibits are mostly outdoors, with a few buildings dedicated to
housing Air Force archives and artefacts. Near the entrance there is a gift shop and a small café. There is also a small
building that presents the history of the IAF and points out the various missions and operations that make the IAF a legend
in and of itself – operations such as Entebbe and the aerial raids on Tunisia and Iraq’s fledgling nuclear facility in 1981.
Also, the historical leaders of the IAF are all portrayed on a wall, with dates, photos and trivia. Mock-ups and preserved
items - such as uniforms - are on display.
Visitors can climb over most of the planes at the Museum and all can be photographed. On
display are the planes that the IAF used throughout the years starting with the WWII-era Spitfires and ending with the
modern-day, still in use, F-15s. Along one edge of the air field are airplanes and helicopters that have been involved in
historical missions and operations, including the helicopter that brought Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin and Egyptian
President Anwar Sadat to the nearby Air Force base to sign the peace treaty between the two countries. Also to be seen, in an
open hangar, are very old bi-planes and the hang gliders used by Syrian-based terrorists a few decades back – presented exactly
as they were “obtained”. In the last section of the lot, the edge closest to the museum building, captured planes from
neighboring countries such as Syria, Egypt and Jordan are displayed as historic trophies. Some of these captured planes are
showpieces of incredible stories of bravery and miracles where extraordinary occurrences were in play, e.g., the enemy pilot
who mistook an Israeli airfield for his own, and was thereby captured.
A small outdoor area of the Museum is dedicated to anti-aircraft weaponry, from large missile
batteries to smaller, more portable weapons. Next to the anti-aircraft weapons collection are several decommissioned warplanes,
still intact, but no longer in use. There is a Boeing jet airliner that was used by the IAF and which has been converted into a
theatre of sorts where a short film of the IAF’s history and its importance as a key element of the Israeli Defense Force is
shown (Hebrew, with English subtitles, approximately 10 minutes). Scattered throughout the museum’s outdoor area are all sorts of interesting
military devices, weapons and paraphernalia.
Hours: Sun – Thurs: 8:00 am -5:00 pm; Friday: 8:00 am -1:00 pm. Closed on Saturday and Holidays.
Cost: Around $7.00 for adults.