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Topic: Jewish High Holy Days

Forum: Prayers and Spiritual Support —

A safe place to find comfort in and share words of prayer, healing, and encouragement.

Posted on: Sep 6, 2011 02:15AM

rachelvk wrote:

I'm newly diagnosed and grappling with the thought of getting through my first Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. Thankfully, perhaps, I will likely be recovering from surgery and won't be at services, but that doesn't mean that I'm not faced with a completely different view on the whole 'who shall live and who shall die' part. I just thought I'd start a thread and see if there's anyone else out there with similar thoughts, or who had experiences to share.

BMX 10/26/11; TACx6 12/13, 1/5, 1/26, 2/16, 3/8, 3/29; Keep focused on the light at the end of the tunnel.... it's where you get your health back and your life. Dx 8/16/2011, IDC, 3cm, Stage IIA, Grade 3, 0/7 nodes, ER-/PR-, HER2- Surgery 10/26/2011 Mastectomy: Left, Right Chemotherapy 12/13/2011 Adriamycin (doxorubicin), Cytoxan (cyclophosphamide), Taxotere (docetaxel) Surgery 6/7/2012 Reconstruction (left); Reconstruction (right)
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Sep 7, 2011 01:20AM Hindsfeet wrote:

My husband is Jewish, and I have a grandparent who is also Jewish, but we don't celebrate Rosh Hashanah or Yorn Kippur. We do celebrate Channauka and Passover. I come from more of a Christian background...so our family is mixed. But curious what you mean by the whole live and who shall die part?

Dx 6/13/2014, IDC, 1cm, Stage IV, Grade 3, mets, ER+/PR+, HER2+
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Sep 7, 2011 02:01AM cookiegal wrote:

I was dx'ed right around high holidays...and yes it did kind of trip me out. I even tried a new temple.I guess it is no longer as big a deal to me.

You deserve a cookie!
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Sep 7, 2011 09:13AM rachelvk wrote:

Cookie - Finding the right temple, or any place of worship, can be tough. Nowadays there are a lot of groups not necessarily synagogue-based, so if you ever do feel like you'd like to get back in, you might find something where you feel more comfortable. 

Eve - During the High Holidays, Jews are supposed to reflect on the past year and ask forgiveness for any sins from both God and anyone they may have hurt or offended. Tradition and liturgy talk about the Book of Life, where God writes down the fate of everyone in the coming year, and one of the major prayers during Yom Kippur talks about how on that day it's determined who should live and who should die, who will be content and who will be tormented, etc. Generally, Jews don't believe in predestination - even the worst sinner, if they repent, can be forgiven. So that prayer always seems a little out of place, and it's mostly symbolism, but when you're staring down a dx of breast cancer, it's just plain awful.

BMX 10/26/11; TACx6 12/13, 1/5, 1/26, 2/16, 3/8, 3/29; Keep focused on the light at the end of the tunnel.... it's where you get your health back and your life. Dx 8/16/2011, IDC, 3cm, Stage IIA, Grade 3, 0/7 nodes, ER-/PR-, HER2- Surgery 10/26/2011 Mastectomy: Left, Right Chemotherapy 12/13/2011 Adriamycin (doxorubicin), Cytoxan (cyclophosphamide), Taxotere (docetaxel) Surgery 6/7/2012 Reconstruction (left); Reconstruction (right)
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Sep 7, 2011 10:04AM pebee wrote:

I am Catholic and diagnoised right before Lent- from ashes you came, from ashes you will go.....

It is tough, hard to maintain a positive attitude about what is happening during this liturgical time of sorrow....... 

Dx 2/2011, IDC, 2cm, Stage IIB, Grade 2, 2/33 nodes, ER+/PR-, HER2-
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Sep 7, 2011 11:32AM toomuch wrote:

Rachelvk - I was diagnoses last July and since the holidays came earlier last year was just about the same number of weeks out from diagnosis. I had already lost my hair and was in the midst of chemo at the time. I can tell you that it was tough. I sat through services with tears running down my face. Growing up my family never broke fast until after Neilah but since we had children my husband and kids have always gone to break fast with his family before that and I have gone to Neilah alone. Last year I asked my husband and son to come with me! I did have a meltdown when the doors were closing and my son couldn't understand why I was crying. Each day after diagnosis really does get easier but I'm not sure that the same is true of facing the holidays.

I wish you the best as you begin your treatment. L'shanah Tovah.

"Every trial endured and weathered in the right spirit makes a soul nobler and stronger than it was before" Dx 7/13/2010, ILC, <1cm, Stage IIA, Grade 2, 2/12 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Sep 7, 2011 11:52AM cookiegal wrote:

I have lived all over the country so I have gotten to sample services a lot of places. My favorites have been small congregations. I loved my temples in WI and ME. Just never found anything in NYC that quite felt right.

You deserve a cookie!
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Sep 7, 2011 06:42PM Leah_S wrote:

Rachel, thank you for starting this topic.

I found the lump 3 years ago just before Yom Kippur. Part of me was numb and part in denial about it. The intensity of my prayers, though, was deeper than it ever had been. That's stayed with me, especially every year on Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur.

One of my rabbis said that during the blowing of the shofar our focus (kavannah) should be "G-d, whatever you send I will accept." I concentrate on that during the shofar and it stays with me. It keeps me going the rest of the year, also. One of the blessings that is part of the Morning Blessings said every day is "Blessed are You...who fulfills all my needs". The same rabbi said this means, "Everything I have I need. Anything I don't have I don't need." It took time, but for me it means that I need bc. I don't know why, but there is a reason that the neshama (soul) of Leah needs bc in order to become who I can. This has not been an easy thing to accept but I do accept it.

I would like to add one more thing about "who shall live" etc. Yes, it is true that tradition says we are written for life on Rosh Hashana and the book is sealed on Yom Kippur. However, true repentence can be done every day of the year and can change what was written. I hope that I can improve who I am - that the Leah I am today is a better person on Rosh Hashana, better than that on Yom Kippur, even better on Sukkot, and continues to climb spiritually all year.

May we all be inscribed for a year of health and a long life.

Leah

Dx 11/3/2008, IDC, 1cm, Stage IV, Grade 3, 6/17 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Sep 7, 2011 07:35PM - edited Sep 8, 2011 02:32PM by hrf

This is a great topic. My mother died of bc during Passover. My father died the week before Rosh Hashana. My parents were Holocaust survivors and as a result formed their own approach to religion. Both had come from Orthodox families. My mother believed that God was with us every day, all the time and that it didn't matter if we went to services or not. Once I had a family, we joined a synagogue and went on High Holidays and once in a while other times. So, for me, I don't feel this time of year has more or less significance than any other day. It is how we conduct ourselves on a daily basis that is most important. In any case, this will be the first year in over 40 years that I won't be going to services. My 2 married sons are going with their wives' families. My youngest won't go. And I don't want to go alone......although I know I can if I want to.  But we will have a lot of family time together with too much food which we will all enjoy. 

BRCA2+ first dx in Oct. 2004 2nd dx Feb. 2009 a new primary
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Sep 7, 2011 11:16PM Chocolaterocks wrote:

I have been thinking about the holidays as well. I am actually dreading it - our congregation had a split and the place seems un-happy- long story. So I find it depressing. Also , I am planning on not fasting this year- its unreasonable for me to take Metformin and not eat. Not sure if spouse will get it it so we will see. But what I do wonder is how many people of Jewish decent have bc?

If we are only 3% of the worlds population as a result of the Holocaust it seems that we have a higher than what would be expected for bc. Just my thoughts and hope you don't mind.

La Shana Tova and peace to all

CR

Dx 1/13/2011, ILC, <1cm, Stage IA, Grade 1, 0/2 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Sep 7, 2011 11:18PM rachelvk wrote:

Thank you to everyone who has joined in. I guess these are questions that people of any religion face, so I'm glad there's been a mixed chorus.

In thinking more about it, I recalled one interpretation of the prayer I mentioned - that it's not God who makes the determination, but us. By choosing the way we live, we decide whether we're rich or poor - in spirit - and whether we 'live' - a full, active life or 'die' by letting life just pass us by. This year, I am definitely choosing to live.

hrf -  There are some great recordings out there of services, or just some of the prayers and songs, if that would be of any comfort if you can't go to services.

Leah - I attend morning or evening minyan occasionally, and they blow the shofar this whole month before the holidays. Hearing it the first time was really stirring. I'm glad I get to experience that.

Pebee - Thank you for joining in. I believe there is a lot of value in times of retrospection, regardless of what your faith is. For those of us in our situation, perhaps we really understand it in a way many others can't (or don't want to).

Cookie - if you're ever in central NJ, let me know. My synagogue's not perfect, but it's got a lot of heart and good people.

Toomuch - Neilah always is an incredibly moving service. My synagogue has a tradition of letting people line up and approach the opened ark for a few moments for silent meditation/prayer/reflection. I will miss that this year. I wish you the best this year - and hope you'll have company again this year. 

BMX 10/26/11; TACx6 12/13, 1/5, 1/26, 2/16, 3/8, 3/29; Keep focused on the light at the end of the tunnel.... it's where you get your health back and your life. Dx 8/16/2011, IDC, 3cm, Stage IIA, Grade 3, 0/7 nodes, ER-/PR-, HER2- Surgery 10/26/2011 Mastectomy: Left, Right Chemotherapy 12/13/2011 Adriamycin (doxorubicin), Cytoxan (cyclophosphamide), Taxotere (docetaxel) Surgery 6/7/2012 Reconstruction (left); Reconstruction (right)
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Sep 8, 2011 01:00AM - edited Sep 8, 2011 05:44AM by Hindsfeet

rachelvk

 I know that during  the High Holidays the Jews are supposed to reflect on the past year and ask forgiveness for any sins from both God and anyone they may have hurt or offended. I was confused by the whole live and who shall die part?  Who shall live and who shall die...That statement made me pause. Just never seen it put like that. Yeah, there are some who do believe there are those who have no choice and are doomed.  The understanding I have of the Bible is God longs to be gracious to all who come to Him. He does not desire anyone to perish.  It is my understanding that most Jewish and Christians believe that God wills all to live and be forgiven.

My husbands family are all NYJews and they celebrate the high holy days. My husband now believes that Jesus is the Jewish Messiah. We mix the two faiths as one faith. He believes that Jesus atoned for our sins on the cross as in Isaiah 53 and for that we don't need to atone for our sins...rather daily confess them to our highpriest, which is Jesus. For this reason he no longer celebrates Yon Kippur or Rosh Shahannah. Most Jewish people would say that my husband is no longer Jewish, but "Christian" although he considers himself a Christian Jew.

 Dx 2007 & 2008 with high grade como-neu dcis...multifocal...2011 mucinious stage 1 cancer. Es & Pr 3 +++
Diagnosis: 1/7/2011, IDC, Stage I, Grade 1, ER+/PR+

Dx 6/13/2014, IDC, 1cm, Stage IV, Grade 3, mets, ER+/PR+, HER2+
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Sep 8, 2011 09:40AM Leah_S wrote:

I would like to add something about the "who shall live..."

After the section that says, "who shall live, who shall die, who by fire, who by water" etc, it concludes: "But prayer, repentance and charity push off the evil decree".

Like you, Rachel, I choose life. In the Torah (sorry, I can't remember exactly where) it says, "I have set them before you today, death and life. Therefore, choose life". We choose life by the way we live.

Leah

Dx 11/3/2008, IDC, 1cm, Stage IV, Grade 3, 6/17 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Sep 8, 2011 02:42PM hrf wrote:

Great comments and suggestions from everyone. 

Rachelvk, thanks for the suggestion regarding recordings of prayers.

Chocolaterocks, I do believe that Jewish women are disproportionately represented in the bc community. Which basically means that even though we might be only 3% of the world's population, we are much more than that within the world of bc. I know that where I live every Jewish woman is entitled to get genetic testing even if there is no apparent family history because they are finding women with the gene mutation even in those groups. With our history of marrying within the faith, we have perpetuated these mutuations. There is quite a history of the mutuations going back centuries and 3 founder genes have been identified and from those there are many more subgroups. I don't intend to be disrespectful, but did G-d also choose us for this disease?

Leah, I appreciate your quote - it's very meaningful.  

BRCA2+ first dx in Oct. 2004 2nd dx Feb. 2009 a new primary
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Sep 8, 2011 02:49PM panamajayne wrote:

I love this topic because I believe that  "we are all one"

I don't just believe in miracles, I depend on them
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Sep 8, 2011 02:58PM Kay_G wrote:

Unfortunately, you are correct about Jewish women being disproportionately represented in BC community.  I am not Jewish, but my onc told me that Ashkenazic (sp?) Jews are at a higher risk to get BC.  My husband is an Ashkenazic Jew, but no one in his family has ever had BC.  But I guess this means that my daughter will now have two risk factors for it (being an Ashkenazic Jew and having a mother who had BC).

Leah, thank you for your post.  That is actually helping me spiritally.  I don't really want to think that I needed BC, but I am comforted thinking some how this is giving me something I need.  Or maybe helping me give something to someone else that they need.  Thank you for expressing your idea on that.

Well that is a pie crust promise, easily made, easily broken. Mary Poppins
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Sep 8, 2011 08:59PM - edited Sep 8, 2011 09:01PM by Hindsfeet

My husbands is Ashkenazic or from the decent of Eastern European Jews. No one in his family has been dx with bc, but a lot on his side has been dx with skin cancers. My grandmother, Jewish, is from Holland. We've had several from her side of the family, who have been dx with bc. I thought about genetic testing to see if I have the Ashkenazic link.

Dx 6/13/2014, IDC, 1cm, Stage IV, Grade 3, mets, ER+/PR+, HER2+
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Sep 8, 2011 09:10PM Chocolaterocks wrote:

HRF and all,

I appreciate all your comments. I was suprised that I was brca negative with a Mother, Aunt, Great grandmother, and grandmother on paternal side being dx with bc.  I am the youngest, and I am pleased to report my Mom and Aunt are still with us.  The family is all from Eastern Europe and strictly Jewish.

so HRF - I hear you-

Actually, what gets me is the food I saw everybody eat when I was growing up- fat, heavy food.... no exercise....  mylife is so different and yet I got it.  So who knows.

I do hope to find some peace this holiday.

Regards

CR

Dx 1/13/2011, ILC, <1cm, Stage IA, Grade 1, 0/2 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Sep 13, 2011 12:08AM - edited Sep 13, 2011 12:13AM by Soccermom4force

Statistically, if memory serves ..it is believed that 40% of .Ashkenazi Jews carry a mutation of the BRCA genes. The highest "known" percentage of any ethnic group.
My Mom, 3 maternal aunts, and one cousin have all had BC.. Surprisingly mom and I were BRCA- and no one else tested. (I have 3 brothers .. One had lung ca.,one stage2 colon and one pre-melanoma.. Nephew w/ melanoma. I have jokingly (not really) looked to Hashem and asked, "I know we are the Chosen people, but could you NOT pick us all the time!?"

L'Shana Tova to one and all,
Marcia (Miriam Shoshanna)

" I expect to pass through life but once. If therefore,there be any kindness I can show, or any good thing I can do to any fellow human being, let me do it now, as I shall not pass this way again." Dx 12/2/2004, LCIS/DCIS/IDC, Right, 2cm, Stage IIB, Grade 3, 1/21 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2+ (FISH)
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Sep 13, 2011 12:37AM rachelvk wrote:

Soccermom - yes, the "chosen people" curse strikes again.

It seems that my surgery will be after RH, if not YK as well. That means finding a way to sit through at least a part of services. My sister offered to join me, and I finally, after 10 years of coaxing, I went ahead and joined the choir (first rehearsal tonight). So provided I can stay strong while singing in front of the congregation, this will be a special year. And if I need a break, another friend of mine who has been dealing with BC and bone mets and is a member of the congregation said we can always go outside for a while and talk. 

BMX 10/26/11; TACx6 12/13, 1/5, 1/26, 2/16, 3/8, 3/29; Keep focused on the light at the end of the tunnel.... it's where you get your health back and your life. Dx 8/16/2011, IDC, 3cm, Stage IIA, Grade 3, 0/7 nodes, ER-/PR-, HER2- Surgery 10/26/2011 Mastectomy: Left, Right Chemotherapy 12/13/2011 Adriamycin (doxorubicin), Cytoxan (cyclophosphamide), Taxotere (docetaxel) Surgery 6/7/2012 Reconstruction (left); Reconstruction (right)
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Sep 13, 2011 12:42AM Pessa wrote:

Shana Tova to all.  Wishing you a year of good health and long lives.

Dx 2/20/2010, IDC, <1cm, 0/3 nodes, ER+/PR-, HER2- Chemotherapy 5/5/2010 AC Surgery 10/22/2010 Lumpectomy: Right; Mastectomy: Right; Prophylactic mastectomy: Left Hormonal Therapy 11/20/2010 Arimidex (anastrozole)
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Sep 13, 2011 12:53AM - edited Sep 13, 2011 12:54AM by 3jaysmom

Rachel; thanks for starting this thread, i'm glad that many of all faiths are here, and the sharing has been wonderful. if we just remember to be respectful of everyones beliefs, it'll be great!

   my family is mixed, also. i'm a christian, whos changed denominations a few times. i have a very strong   belief, and allow others' to have theirs. i married a Jewish man, who's family is reconstrucionists. my FIL wasVERY active in Philly, not so much in Fla. but, he is a man of faith, for sure. we spend all the high holidays with them, and i've learned a great deal from them, and their traditions. His family accepted me readily, even though i was different in faith. his Dad, and i have had many lively discussions aboutthe Bible.. in itself, not one faith to another.. i got a degree many long years ago; in old testement. and, it adds to our discussions. we laugh about " in your books" and in "my books" its a warm, tradition in our family. we may not have married, but i had 3 sons from a previous marriage, and a hysterectomy. it would have been different, i'm sure, if he had ever planned on having children. mine were raised christian long before Murray met me, and he just lets them be as they are. the have a great deal of love and respect for that side of the family... Again, thanks for starting this thread... Leah; i always am impressed with your sense of spirituality. acceptance of our lives are in either faith. i was taught " all coes from the Hand of G-d" and therefore, HAS to be for my benifit, somehow.......3jays 

3jaysmom Chemotherapy 4/20/2009 Dx DCIS, 2cm, Stage IIB, 1/27 nodes, ER-/PR+, HER2-
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Sep 13, 2011 01:13AM Binney4 wrote:

Leah, I found your posts here very moving. In regard to accepting your bc (and LE!) diagnoses as something you "need," have you ever read The Hiding Place by Corrie ten Boom? Whenever I think of that concept of being grateful to G-d for things that simply seem "bad" on the surface, it reminds me of her story about being in the concentracion camp and being plagued by fleas and bed-bugs. One day she decide to thank G-d for them! And that day she learned that the reason the guards left their barracks alone and never entered them to harrass and torture them was because of the bugs. She actually NEEDED the bugs. Such a comforting story, and so simple (but soooooo difficult!) Thanks for sharing your thoughts on that. It's an encouragement to me.
Binney
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Sep 13, 2011 01:37AM exbrnxgrl wrote:

Although raised in a Jewish household in the Bronx, I am not very observant and struggle with some of the constraints I find in organized religion. Still, I have a strong streak of cultural Judaism running through my veins. I make a mean lukshen kugel and grew up in a Yiddish speaking household.I am Also an Ashkenazy Jew and I have heard about how we have higher rates of bc. Don't usually do much for the high holy days but I do find it to be a good time for contemplation and,of course for sweet apples and honey on Rosh Hashana. L'shana tova to all, Caryn (Liba Shana)

Bilateral mx 9/7/11 with one step ns reconstruction. As of 11/21/11, 2cm met to upper left femur Dx 7/8/2011, IDC, Left, 4cm, Grade 1, 1/15 nodes, mets, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 9/7/2011 Lymph node removal: Left; Mastectomy: Left, Right; Reconstruction (left); Reconstruction (right) Dx 11/2011, IDC, Left, 4cm, Stage IV, Grade 1, 1/15 nodes, mets, ER+/PR+, HER2- Hormonal Therapy 11/21/2011 Arimidex (anastrozole) Radiation Therapy 11/21/2011 Bone Hormonal Therapy 6/19/2014 Femara (letrozole) Hormonal Therapy Aromasin (exemestane)
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Sep 13, 2011 01:12PM 3jaysmom wrote:

oh, Binney, one of my all time favorites is Corrie ten Boom. i have her daily devotional beside my bed. she is a woman to  emulate; for sure..and, yes.. Leah's spirituality has showed me much of the same spirit........3jays

3jaysmom Chemotherapy 4/20/2009 Dx DCIS, 2cm, Stage IIB, 1/27 nodes, ER-/PR+, HER2-
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Sep 17, 2011 12:48AM SAB wrote:

Leah S: Choose life was the subject of the last drash I listened too, about a month ago.  Parashat R'eih, from the Midrash Tanhuma R'eih.  It stuck in my mind because of the story the Rabbi told, "Even though the beginning of this road is full of thorns, follow it, for it will turn level in the end."

Binney, thank you for that story.  Have you read "Man's Search for Meaning?"  It's the story of a Jewish doctor in the camps who believed that it was the prisoners who lived with purpose and meaning in their every day lives who survived. My Mother was a survivor, and my hero, and lived every day open to joy.

May you all find health and happiness in the coming year. 

The question is not to be or not to be. The question is how to be and how not to be. Heschel. Dx 6/2/2011, IDC, 1cm, Stage I, Grade 2, 0/11 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Sep 17, 2011 08:43AM rachelvk wrote:

 My rabbi gave a sermon last week about dreams vs reality. It was really what I needed to hear - even when your dreams and expectations are shattered by reality, you can still take that reality and make the most of it you can.

I'll check out Boom's writing and Man's Search for Meaning. One thing I am finding that has helped me cope was stepping back and keeping in how many other people in this world face serious challenges and situations. Remembering 9/11 made me think of all those lives, young and old, that were lost or changed; the flooding and other effects of the hurricanes around here have left lives devastated.

Best to all of you. 

BMX 10/26/11; TACx6 12/13, 1/5, 1/26, 2/16, 3/8, 3/29; Keep focused on the light at the end of the tunnel.... it's where you get your health back and your life. Dx 8/16/2011, IDC, 3cm, Stage IIA, Grade 3, 0/7 nodes, ER-/PR-, HER2- Surgery 10/26/2011 Mastectomy: Left, Right Chemotherapy 12/13/2011 Adriamycin (doxorubicin), Cytoxan (cyclophosphamide), Taxotere (docetaxel) Surgery 6/7/2012 Reconstruction (left); Reconstruction (right)
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Sep 17, 2011 07:49PM 3jaysmom wrote:

wishing you all well, and good health.. i'm still following this thread, and have been so enjoying. spent the day yesterday with murrays' parents, and some of the ladies here. it was wonderful......3jays

3jaysmom Chemotherapy 4/20/2009 Dx DCIS, 2cm, Stage IIB, 1/27 nodes, ER-/PR+, HER2-
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Sep 28, 2011 09:57AM Moderators wrote:

May this year be filled with health, happiness and peace.  L'Shana Tovah.

The mods 

To send a Private Message to the Mods: community.breastcancer.org/mem...
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Sep 28, 2011 11:50AM exbrnxgrl wrote:

L'shanah tova to all. May the new year bring peace, health and happiness to all. Now, go dip your apples in some honey! Caryn

Bilateral mx 9/7/11 with one step ns reconstruction. As of 11/21/11, 2cm met to upper left femur Dx 7/8/2011, IDC, Left, 4cm, Grade 1, 1/15 nodes, mets, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 9/7/2011 Lymph node removal: Left; Mastectomy: Left, Right; Reconstruction (left); Reconstruction (right) Dx 11/2011, IDC, Left, 4cm, Stage IV, Grade 1, 1/15 nodes, mets, ER+/PR+, HER2- Hormonal Therapy 11/21/2011 Arimidex (anastrozole) Radiation Therapy 11/21/2011 Bone Hormonal Therapy 6/19/2014 Femara (letrozole) Hormonal Therapy Aromasin (exemestane)
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Sep 28, 2011 02:47PM SAB wrote:

A sweet year to each and every one of you!  Happy 5772.
The question is not to be or not to be. The question is how to be and how not to be. Heschel. Dx 6/2/2011, IDC, 1cm, Stage I, Grade 2, 0/11 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-

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