inspiring Rosh Hashanah story

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  • #604924

    aurora77
    Participant

    Hello Coffee Room,

    I wanted to share with you what happened to me today, which I found really inspiring and moving.

    I have been in Ocean City, New Jersey with my parents and brother for a late vacation. We are only a few blocks from the ocean. On each morning and afternoon of the New Year, I have passed by a beautiful beach-front house, and each time, I have seen between five and ten Orthodox men praying facing towards the sea. It sounded beautiful, and at other times I would see the women and children who were staying in the house. The house was very privately located but I could still catch glimpses from the path to the seashore. Yesterday, I thought that I may have heard the shofar, which I had never heard before, so I was not sure of that was indeed it.

    Each time I passed, I wanted to wish the various people there Happy New Year, but I did not want to be invasive in any way. Also, I felt embarrassed, because although I was dressed modestly for non-Orthodox standards in a one-piece suit with a skirt, covered by a beach cover-up close to the knee, I knew that I was not dressed as modestly as the women in the house, and so I felt somewhat ashamed of my appearance. Nonetheless, I still longed to at least wish these families a Happy New Year, and I craved a way to experience some part of Rosh Hashanah in person, not just from reading books.

    Today, I was again on the seashore, although there was quite a gale on the beach, with very strong winds whipping sand around. I had gone to collect shells, which is one of my favorite seashore past times, after swimming. My practice is to pick up and throw out several pieces of trash along the beach for any one shell I collect, as it saddens me to see something so beautiful from G-d polluted as it often is. Virtually no one else was on the beach due to the winds, and I was alone with my thoughts about Rosh Hashanah, feeling rather lonely.

    Then, all the various family members staying In that beach house seemed to come out onto the beach, the children ebullient with all the gusts of wind and everyone looking in wonder at the awesome sea’s billowing waves. At last I had my chance to wish them la shana tova! I did so with a big smile in passing, although I still felt embarrassed about how I must have looked.

    I continued up the beach to look for more shells. In just a couple of minutes, one member of the group approached me warmly and kindly asked me if I was Jewish. i very briefly explained a short version of what I have posted here — i.e., how I have discovered maternal Jewish roots and am trying to connect with them. More people from the group came up to greet me, and then they invited me to their beautiful beach house to hear the blowing of the shofar!

    By this point, I could hardly believe what was happening. I apologized for my state of dress, yet they still warmly welcomed me to come hear the shofar! It was incredible to hear it being blown. Everyone was so happy and celebratory. They wished me luck on finding my roots.

    Walking back to where I’m staying with my family, I felt so moved by the whole experience. I felt like it was G-d calling for me, showing me that I was on the right path. I felt thankful that I had gone down to the seashore when I did, despite the weather, or I might have missed this opportunity altogether, as the families were going to be leaving tonight to go back to New York City and New Jersey.

    I may not have done a very good job at conveying how extraordinary this experience was, but it was profound to me. Maybe if you could imagine what it would be like, to be searching for your family history, your roots, your faith, for years — searching for most of that time without even knowing what you were searching for, but feeling like somehow you were being called, nonetheless — and then, one magnificent day, you can finally reach out and touch it. It was like that. I prayed then, thanking G-d for calling me as He had, and then telling Him that I am coming.

    #897160

    Mammele
    Participant

    You are bringing tears to my eyes. Thank you so much for sharing and shanah tova umsukah to you and yours.

    #897161

    2scents
    Participant

    Nice story.

    You are lucky that you have ‘happened’ to find such a warm family.

    #897162

    Nechomah
    Participant

    AMAZING story!!!! You’re totally on the right path and you can see the help you’re getting from the One Above (we call it siyata de’shmaya) so clearly. Really terrific. Keep pushing forward!

    #897163

    just me
    Participant

    Aurora, welcome back to the Jewish family. I am happy for you that you are discovering your roots. When things like this happen to me, I feel it is like Hashem, our holy Father, giving me a hug.

    #897164

    aurora77
    Participant

    Thank you Mammele, it is so good to hear your kind, gentle voice again 🙂 I hope that you and your loved ones have had a wonderful New Year!

    2scents, Nechomah, and just me, thank you for your continued encouragement and welcoming ways. I hope you have enjoyed your New Year celebrations!

    As you mentioned, Nechomah and just me, it really did feel like G-d’s hand literally guiding me — it was profound! I was so drawn to those kind people, and they shared some of their celebration with me. It came at the perfect time because I was feeling generally discouraged on the beach, finding only more and more trash to throw out and wondering to myself, “what is wrong with people” who treat the seashore like their personal trashcan. All of a sudden, these wonderful people — kind, caring, spiritual people celebrating the New Year — were there on the beach beside me, equally awed by the glorious stormy sea and G-d’s handiwork. They said that they like to be at the seashore when there is no one else around, like I do. The whole experience was like one incredible hug from G-d, as you say, just me. I found myself tearing up, because I realized that G-d cared enough to grant the heart’s wishes and longings of insignificant me — He was not only listening, as I have always believed, but He answered in such a clear and direct and immediate way that can not be mistaken as mere coincidence.

    #897165

    more_2
    Member

    Poof, i don’t believe this op. Someone that is searching for their roots will not be posting on a yeshivishe website.

    #897166

    Mammele
    Participant

    More: and you are 100% sure of this because? Last I checked this website is accessible to all.

    Aurora didn’t just appear out of thin air — she’s been posting for a while and is very sincere. Read her other thread if you haven’t already (where to start becoming Jewish…) and remember to always give others the benefit of the doubt.

    #897167

    Nechomah
    Participant

    M2, and even if you’re right, why post such a comment? If you’re wrong, the potential damage you might do is great. If you’re right, so what?

    If you’re worried about people giving encouragement to a person who is not telling the truth, I think that the potential benefits of people encouraging someone for no reason are far greater to those people, so no harm is coming to them.

    #897168

    daniela
    Member

    more_2 has noticed what we all noticed, if these are “orthodox jewish men”, there are halachot about praying outside when a building is available. Not to mention it is “uncommon” to go on vacation for the high holidays, rent a house on the ocean front (and clean it up: when?) especially for someone that ordinarily lives in NY/NJ, have children play on the beach on yom tov, etc etc. But they must consider themselves very holy, if they have no need of a minyan for Rosh Hashana, perhaps they feel they were sealed the previous year already?

    I did not want to ruin the warm fuzzy feeling, and I was taught that not everything we think needs to be said, but let it be a reminder to use a grain of salt or two, in regards to what we read. Especially on the internet.

    #897169

    more_2
    Member

    Could very well be someone legit. Its well written like all yhe other posts from that user.However someone like that would not keep coming back to this site.they would search everywhere else before coming here. I find it kinda absurd.I’ll give the benefit of the doubt but you mammele, honestly know It’s another mod character, just like yourself.

    Here is my bdnefit of thd doubt; yes if someone like that would google a topic like this; ywn would come up in the search.

    Good way to advertise ywn!

    #897170

    golfer
    Participant

    Thank you Daniela!

    Sometimes in the CR salt is in short supply.

    Thanks for contributing a dash!

    #897171

    Mammele
    Participant

    More: what exactly is a mod character? One is either a mod or not. No point arguing here as apparently you’ve made up your mind based on your personal cynicism.

    And who says Aurora isn’t searching anywhere else? Just because she’s posting here? She seems to have an inquisitive mind and is reading a lot online according to her posts.

    #897172

    miritchka
    Member

    Aurora: you’re story moved me very much! And like Daniela said, take her comment with a grain of salt…

    more_2: You wrote “However someone like that would not keep coming back to this site.they would search everywhere else before coming here. I find it kinda absurd.” As absurd as it may be to you, guess what?! Someone ‘like that’ did keep coming back! Maybe Aurora was interested to see the ‘issues’ or ‘topics of interest’ among the Yeshiva World.

    daniela: There are halachos about davening outside, but you dont know the situation that made them have to daven outside. And while it may be “uncommon” for you to go away for Rosh hashana, just open up any Jewish paper and you will see the amount of hotels and get-aways are advertised for not only R”H, but for Yom Kippur too! There are also a couple of different get-aways that are near the ocean/beach and plenty of people take walks on the boardwalk or if there is none, on the rocks and sand. And nowhere in the OP does it say that the children were playing, it says “Then, all the various family members staying In that beach house seemed to come out onto the beach, the children ebullient with all the gusts of wind and everyone looking in wonder at the awesome sea’s billowing waves. ” And then your post continues that they may have felt ‘too holy’ to daven without a minyan, what if it was after the quiet shmoneh esrah and some went to the restroom or some were davening in a place that could not be seen from OP’s view? You say you didnt want to ruin the fuzzy atmosphere, well, thankfully, you didnt.

    golfer: you’re right, sometimes the posts do need to be taken with a grain of salt. But in this case, as Nechomah said “even if you’re right, why post such a comment? If you’re wrong, the potential damage you might do is great. If you’re right, so what?”

    I apologize if i came across to harsh. I was just blown away by the comments that some could make after such a story, true or not.

    #897173

    Nechomah
    Participant

    Re: Daavening outside – It sounds to me like they were making tashlich. Unless they had an aquarium to do it inside, which I think might be questionable halachically, what better place to do it than by the ocean? That point seemed obvious to me, not that they were making their minyan daavening outside the whole day.

    #897174

    2scents
    Participant

    more_2

    as other posters have commented, all you have is a theory. on the other hand you might be hurting a human being. It always pays to err on the side of caution.

    #897175

    More and more2 have done more than their fair share of trolling so no right to be crying troll at others. Personally even if aurora were a troll we could use more of that here not less. But she is real

    #897176

    shein
    Member

    aurora: Thank you for sharing your very touching story.

    #897177

    daniela
    Member

    I have not said it is impossible, I just said that doubts arise.

    Of course people can go away, especially if they live in some place without a big community, but religious jews would go to a retreat with some famous rabbi and where they don’t have to cook, they would hardly rent a house on the beach front for the ten days, and in Ocean City. Which, for those who have never been to NJ, is a place where alcoholic beverages are forbidden (!!! on yomim tovim !!!) and which is entertainment-oriented and not suited to the ten-days mood. I have read your theories, but they seem to me doubtful. Only the men go out and do tashlich, without women and especially without the children? And how can it be tashlich, given that according to the original post they did this each morning and every afternoon? OK, perhaps they had just finished davening, fair enough. But is it usual that a group of male religious jews would talk to a woman who is alone on the beach? They would return the greeting (in Israel possibly not even that). Moreover, she says that only one of them approached her at first. And one more thing, she was picking shells and garbage. Kol Ha Kavod (honor to you) and thanks to Aurora for cleaning the beach (perhaps it could have waited till after Yom Tov). But the orthodox jews don’t invite her indoors where she will be able to wash?

    #897178

    ready now
    Participant
    #897179

    mewho
    Participant

    beautiful and touching story. shana tova to you aurora77 and to all in the coffee room.

    #897180

    daniela
    Member

    Are you suggesting she said (the post does not say “shouted”) shana tova with a smile through a thick window? A timid person who the previous days did not dare talking to them, nor knocking on the door, would now shout through the window at people (men) who are praying?

    The story is no less beautiful if some details were embellished or misunderstood (I have not accused Aurora of being false; perhaps those people are conservadox, who have been very nice and kind and who did a big mitzva, and were dressed for yom tov, and Aurora is not expected to be able to discriminate, but readers are). The story is cheapened if we force reader to accept all details even when they don’t add up.

    #897181

    ready now
    Participant

    Please Daniella she did NOT say Shanna Tova through the thick glass!

    I am wondering about YOUR credibility, and I really hope you will forgive me but please read more carefully. A Shanna Tova too to you Daniella, my dear Jewish sister.

    #897182

    WIY
    Member

    One of the pettiest threads I have ever read. Just saying.

    #897183

    iced
    Member

    I agree with WIY. You petty imbecilec trolls ought to lay off with your idiotic comments. aurora is one of the most genuine posters ever on these boards.

    #897184

    aurora77
    Participant

    Thank you for the encouraging and kind replies that I have received here.

    Although I feel hurt by some of the other things I have read here in reply to my story, I do understand that there is uncertainty with the internet — one can’t be sure that what one is reading is true or that the person writing is honest.

    I will try to address some of the questions regarding the details. Please remember that for some of the things that happened, I am trying to explain things that I saw that I don’t fully understand yet (regarding rituals, for instance).

    The going to the sea did not happen each day — as I wrote, I saw what appeared to be praying each day. The trip to the sea that all the men, women, and children did only happened once that I saw, at approximately 3-4 pm on Tuesday. Although one person first approached me on the beach, the others who came over were just a few steps behind. The first person who approached me said when I inquired that the group was “mostly Modern Orthodox.” They blew the shofar for me on the big outdoor porch of the beach house — I did not enter into the interior of the house. The families were not there for the entirety of the High Holy Days — as I mentioned, they were leaving Tuesday night when Rosh Hashanah ended to return to their homes. They only rented the house for Rosh Hashanah. Although it is true that Ocean City, New Jersey is dry, “wet” towns are are about five minutes away. It does not appear that lack of alcohol was a problem — the trash pick up on the street has yet to occur, so I can see cardboard apple boxes and beer boxes stacked at the curbside with the trashcans.

    more2, I just don’t even know enough about the context of this website, as opposed to other Internet sources, to be able to understand why my coming here repeatedly, reading, and posting could be characterized as absurd.

    #897185

    aurora77
    Participant

    I meant to add regarding Ocean City — even in the height of summer, it is a very family -oriented NJ seaside location. Now that the summer season has been over since Labor Day weekend, things are VERY quiet and empty here. The streets are dark at night with virtually no one in the rentals. Many businesses are closed.

    It is actually a wonderful location and time here now to be almost entirely alone to reflect on sober and serious issues with the incredible landscape of the sea. The families said that they like to be here in Ocean City when no one else is here. Perhaps they found this solitude to be conducive to the soul-searching that goes on at this time of year, while being by the sea for the couple days of Rosh Hashanah. I at least found it to be so.

    #897186

    oomis
    Participant

    I think this is a touching and very moving story. Even were it 100 untrue, it would still be a beautiful post. Maybe I am naive, but I believe it to be true, and the people in the story recounted, were clearly doing Tashlich. They might even have been Chabad, who are known to go ANYWHERE and EVERYWHERE.

    Aurora, whoever you are, if this story is exactly as you described it, then it seems clear that Hashem is tapping you on the shoulder and saying, as it were, “Go for it! I’m sending you some help.” Little steps can bring you on great journeys.

    #897187

    aurora77
    Participant

    I also wanted to clarify that the praying group of men were on the big porch or just inside the glass doors — I could just see this much occasionally because the beach house was secluded and only a portion of the property could be glanced from the common path to the sea. The women and children remained in the privacy of the property, from what I could see, until the whole group went to the sea for perhaps five to ten minutes on Tuesday afternoon, when I spoke a holiday greeting to them and they then asked me if I would like to hear the shofar.

    #897188

    lglmlg
    Member

    Well,… Isn’t our realtionship with G-d should be more personal? I love to meet good people who love G-d, but why not pursue personal encounter with G-d?

    #897189

    Mammele
    Participant

    Thanks Aurora for all additional details and clarifications. Although I never doubted you, as you see we have a healthy number of cynics here.

    And there’s nothing wrong with this website. However, other sites may be more informational versus the CR which is full of banter/socializing/debating with no authoritative religious rulings — just anonymous posters.

    #897191

    YW Moderator-95
    Moderator

    Aurora: Thank you for this story. It appears the lunatics have hijacked this thread. I’ll close it for everyone’s good.

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