September 24, 2014 – Erev Rosh Hashanah – 5774

When I was a child my father would wake me up at 4:30 am on Erev Rosh Hashanah and tell me to hurry because we needed to be in shul at 5 am for seleichos zechor bris. When we returned home a couple of hours later after selichos, davening, and hataras nedorim, the house was filled with the aroma of my grandmother’s raisin challah, her teiglach and other yom tov foods. Then the holiday phone calls would start. Family and close friends were either called or called us and blessings for a kasiva vachasima tova were exchanged. My mother always had pre-yom tov errands for my brother and me to perform. And before we knew it was time to get ready for shul, put on our new yom tov clothes and walk together with my father to the Queens Jewish Center.

When I was young the shul’s chazzan sang with a choir and I was one of the choir boys. We stood on the bima and sang with the chazzan throughout Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. To this day I use the nussach and niginum which Chazzan Schwerd taught met as a young choir boy. I loved the Rosh Hashanah nussach and for weeks looked forward with anticipation to singing with the chazzan. Many years have passed since those childhood days, but I remember them fondly every year as I wake up early to go to shul for zechor bris.

There is one pre yom tov custom, however, that I will not be able to perform ever again. As an adult, for many years, before every yom tov I would send flowers to my mother. She loved flowers and would always enjoy that large bouquet that was delivered to her home on erev yom tov. Today, as I make my last minute yom tov preparations and calls and as I review my nussach and niginum for this year’s davening, I really miss the flowers…..

Best wishes for a kasiva vachasim tova


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