This year, the proximity of the anniversaries on two different calendars leads me to think about one through the lens of the other. The theme that runs through both is that we must learn both through what is broken and what is whole.
On Yom Kippur, we are instructed to seek atonement from those we have wronged... those who we have intentionally or unintentionally transgressed... so that we are assured a blessing in the Book of Life.
Not only was my walk up to the front of the temple painful and scary, but my time standing on the bimah was even more difficult. As I read the passages, all I could think about were my shoes. I was in pain and hoped nobody could tell.
I started doing some research because I was horrified by my own visions of screeching chickens, blood and feathers. I knew this wasn't a practice I would ever do. In my search for more information, I heard a great story.
Mr. Abbas: I know that this proposal is very difficult for you to accept. I write to you on the eve of Yom Kippur, because my heart is weary and full of sorrow; because I see the two-state solution slipping away.
The painful truth? Your hands, my hands and the hands of everyone else we know are tools of oppression. They directly and indirectly cause suffering in the lives of God's creation -- human, animal and more.
Repentance and forgiveness are powerful conscious processes that bring growth and lasting healing. That is why for Jews the holiest days of the year are those when we commit our lives to these processes.