I’m sure this has been done before, but thinking about what I will be doing for Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, I start to wonder if there isn’t a better way to introspect and celebrate, without forking over $200 for a ticket to a religious institution. How about create your own High Holiday service? How about a bunch of people rent a room in a school or community center and bring our own prayer books, poems, instruments, chairs, cushions, toys for the kids, snacks, lechayims. How much would that cost? One of us could be the facilitator and we’d take turns to either choose from the liturgy or some other related poems, meditations, comments. The kids could run around in the same room with the adults, so we wouldn’t need to hire a babysitter. We could even stop every now and then to include them in a kid-friendly song or activity. I know there’s the small problem of a torah. I know it’s a sacred scroll. But what are the high holidays really about? Expensive ritual items or a chance to get in touch with what you really hold sacred? What about people holding different beliefs or non-beliefs? Well, how about for a short time, we just withold judgement and try to learn from each other. Okay, so God is supposed to be judging us, but really it’s an inner court that we are holding. My guess is that God whoever, whatever that may be, if it is, has less need to judge us than we do ourselves. The question we need to ask ourselves is: How can I live up to my values? Because that is what really matters. I may not hold to certain doctrines as taught in the torah and oral torah, but what kind of commitment am I making to the causes I hold dear? I know this doesn’t sound so kosher, but I think it is in the spirit of the Jewish high holidays, more so than following the minutae of ritual and prayer. We have become automatons, reciting words we do not even understand, standing and sitting, bending and bowing. Maybe it would be a big flop, but then again, it might just lead to lasting memories and communal bonding. What do you think?