Thursday, September 27, 2012


Posted by Kim Klein

Yesterday was Yom Kippur, the most important holy day in the Jewish calendar and the end of a ten period called “the days of awe” which begin with Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year. Yom Kippur starts with a service called Kol Nidre and that service begins with some version of this statement:

“This is the time we set aside to take an account of our souls. To what purposes have each of us devoted our lives? Are we on the road to accomplishing these purposes? Have we allowed ourselves to be distracted from the goals that each of us has set? Or has the time arrived to set new goals? All the vows and commitments that I have made, all the responsibilities and purposes that I have set for myself, may it be that they have been for the good. But during this day, I will examine them and consider their value. If they are indeed still worthy, I pledge to pursue them whole-heartedly. If any of them need to be set aside, I pledge to do so responsibly and with compassion for all whom my actions affect. ” (Rabbi David Cooper, Kehilla Synagogue, Oakland, CA)

This kind of examination recognizes that something which may have been very good for me years ago may not help me at all now. I thought, “What am I devoted to now and how has that changed in the last number of years?” It is so freeing to think that I can change course. And this freedom is extended to our community and to our entire planet. In the latter case we know we must change course as the decisions we made which brought us to this point will not serve us going forward.

One commitment I made 24 years ago remains solidly in place today. Because of the vagaries of the lunar calendar, this year Yom Kippur fell on my anniversary. My partner, Stephanie Roth, and I discussed whether we should continue to keep our commitment to be together, or set that aside. With little effort, we decided this was one commitment we should keep. Deciding to keep a commitment comes with a renewed effort to pursue it whole heartedly, and with great joy, I recommit to the love of my life, a person who has helped me in all my other commitments and helped me become a much better person all around.

I also recommitted myself, whole heartedly, to the continued exploration of what it means to live a life grounded in commons values. After the service, we walked along Lake Merritt, on the public sidewalk to the public transportation that took us home. This year I made a new promise at Yom Kippur—to use my car as little as possible. I know this will help me walk more, but will require more planning and more time. I think this is why I have not made this promise before. However, if we are to change course as a society, I have to do my little part and walking, biking, taking the bus or subway, seems a good change.


linda said...

What a beautiful post Kim! Thank you for posting this!

linda said...

Thank you for posting this Kim. Beautiful!

Kim Klein said...

Thank you!