Matter & Spirit – The Blog

23 בSeptember 2014

Old, New & Renew – Rosh Hashanah

Someone came and said
The High Holy Days are drawing near.
Summer days have passed,
And in the garden, a pear tree lost its leaves into the yellowing grass.
Summer was, oh, so short…
In the city, the Days of Awe await us.

(Leah Goldberg, Hashchenim Kvar Arzu)



What’s new?!

The Days of Awe—Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur—are my two favorite holidays.
To me, Rosh Hashanah breeds fond memories of prayer and heartrending tunes.
For as long as I can remember, my father served as the chazzan in our shul. Particularly during the High Holy Days, his voice soared majestically in the sanctuary, stirring emotion, excitement and sentiments of renewal within me. Every year, I would eagerly anticipate hearing his powerful voice, humming along to those familiar, heartrending tunes. Above all, I waited for what would occur “behind the scenes.” On the eve of Rosh Hashanah, my family would sit around the beautifully-laid dining room table, searching for something new, reflecting upon a way to enhance the services, choosing a special melody and fitting it perfectly to one of the prayers or piyyutim. Every year, we would choose one popular song, one of the year’s greatest Jewish hits, and match it to one of the special Rosh Hashanah prayers in order to infuse new life, excitement and fervor into the congregation.

matter-spirit-rosh-hashana-2-synagogueHurva Synagogue in Jerusalem. on right the old synagogue, On left the renewed Synagogue.


Hitchadshut, the concept of renewal that is part and parcel of Rosh Hashanah does not constitute discovering something new that previously did not exist, but taking something old and familiar and infusing new life into it.
The English world ‘holiday’ clearly stems from the two words holy day, but over the centuries, its definition has metamorphosed to mean ‘vacation.’ In Hebrew, despite the holiness attributed to these days, the word for holiday is actually chag, which stems from the root word chug, a circle or cycle, alluding to the constant return to this significant point in the calendar.
On the chag, there is focus on the past, on my source, and also reflections upon the present—where I am today. Finally, there is thought of the future, of renewal and change. Rabbi Kook, zt”l, captured this message of melding ancient Jewish tradition with modernity with the slogan “Hayashan yitchadesh, v’hachadash yitkadesh,” loosely translated as “The old shall be renewed, and the new shall be sanctified.”
As an interior designer, I love both the new and renewed.
I love discovering new concepts, meeting new people and encountering new ideas and designs.

In a similar vein, I love improving what I have and what’s already familiar.

kise-shiputs old and new from


shulcanot-shiputsold and new from


My secret time machine
One way I fulfill my dream of traveling through time, of peeking into different eras in history, is by renovating and refurbishing, taking antique furniture or an old object from a different time and place, and infusing it with new life. Scouring it, painting it, varnishing it, and giving it life through a new color, shade and sometimes even purpose.
Sometimes, letting something live and perpetuate means bequeathing it a new role in life.
Rabbi Nachman of Breslav  reveals that an object in our possession that does not fulfill its purpose in the world can actually harm us. Examples include extra food or superfluous items without purpose. However, if the item receives a new designation and purpose, or if the owner somehow benefits from it, then the object fulfills its mission in the world and can contribute greatly to its owner. (Likutei Moharan Torah 257).

matter-spirit-rosh-hasana-1-lampOld Items New purpose. Re modeld by BUBA


Blessing all of us with a wonderful New and Renewed Year filled with radiant opportunities for growth!
Shana Tova!


A new performance to an older Tune…


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One Response to “Old, New & Renew – Rosh Hashanah”

  1. bayla gold says:

    Amazingly beautiful site
    Pictured you all sitting around your Mother’s beautifully set table and your Father trying out niggunim,
    Enjoyed Yitzchak Meyer too. Toda
    Hatzlacha rabba
    bayla Gold

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