Last Rosh Hashanah, MyJewishLearning.com hosted a New Year’s Poetry contest. The poems that showed up astonished us. They were honest and beautiful, sad and funny, innocent and wise. The winning poem, Rita Janice Traub’s “A Caregiver’s Rosh Hashanah,” came to us from a nursing home in Atlanta, Georgia.
“The only shofar sounds we hear are beep of horn and screech of brakes,” Traub writes. “Shul is off-limits to us now. Each cluttered room a temple makes.” Spending Rosh Hashanah inside a nursing home is a religious experience that most of us probably never thought about having–and one that we’d likely never have thought of as a “religious experience.”
The poem’s thoughts are both hopeful and chilling. “Inscribe us, God, for life and love,” it concludes. “Our sins forgive; our secrets keep.”