It was the first Rosh Hashanah in twelve years that I wasn’t on the bima, singing.
“Just so you know,” I’d told the midwife, many months earlier, “I’ll be leading high holiday services about a month after the baby is born.”
“I don’t think so,” she said, in her gentle but straightforward way.
The baby might be two weeks late, she explained. So then I’d only have two weeks to recover. But even if the baby was on time, a month would not feel like very much.
“Oh,” I said.
It was the first Rosh Hashanah since I was eight or so that I wasn’t even in synagogue. Getting to New Jersey, where my congregation is, felt impossible.
Instead, I was walking down the block with pink sunglasses on, disheveled, my baggy shirt falling off one shoulder. Bear was pushing the stroller.
“We have to do something special,” I’d been saying for the whole morning.
“Burgers?” he suggested, mostly joking. But maybe a little hopeful.
“L’shanah tovah, Eden!” I kept saying into her little face. “Happy new year! It’s the new year and you’re seven weeks old and you’re a little Jewish baby!”
She didn’t care about any of that.
(“Stop prattling and push my wheeled throne, cow.”)
And then there was a flood of Jews in nice clothes, coming from the local shul, the men still wearing kipot, some of them, and I fought the urge to smile at each one of them as they passed, to signal somehow, I am one of you!
And I was ashamed.
Which is stupid.
But also, I was reminded.