As the High Holy Days began yesterday, and I continue to mourn my dad’s passing in July, I remembered the closeness I felt to my father, particularly during this time of year. One of my favorite memories was of Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, and the times I shared the last service of the day, Niilah, with my dad. Neilah is when the gates of Heaven begin to close and another year begins.
During my teenage and college years, I sat next to my dad in Oliff Auditorium at Congregation B’nai Zion in Chicago during that last service and we ended the holiday together. Mom had already gone home to prepare for our breaking the fast meal and it was just dad and me. I liked that and will always treasure that memory.