Imagine a time in the past year that you acted unskillfully. Allow yourself to feel that weight of responsibility. Think to yourself, "if I in any way was a cause of suffering, whether consciously or unconsciously, I ask for forgiveness."
Today, because it is impossible to do it in a kosher way, we must perform the ritual with money. Rabbinic sources including the Chayei Adam and Mishna Berurah are clear that when the ritual cannot be performed in a kosher way it is preferable to use money.
How do you explain the High Holidays to kids without scaring the living daylights out of them? Just the images alone send me into black hibernation. No light, no consciousness. Let God add and erase names in the Book of Life without my awareness.
We must never forget that there were Christians in World War II Europe, a small minority to be sure, who risked their lives to save Jews. And today there are Muslims who join forces with Jews and Christians to espouse and promote a spirit of tolerance.
I do not conceive of God as a person and find the symbol of an autocrat to be problematic, rather than majestic. Yet the melody of the Avinu Malkeinu remains haunting, and the effect it has on me is powerful. That is, until I stop to think about the meaning of the words themselves.
Is it really such a healthy thing to feel oneself to be inadequate, judged and deficient? Does it make us better people, or does it make us more judgmental ourselves? And does God judge us, or only love?