The Bridge Between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur

by Janet Ruth Falon (Elkins Park, PA)

It’s a long bridge, and high,
with pilings deep in the water,
dug into the foundation of earth.
It takes ten days to cross,
by foot,
(more, with baggage),
and you have to walk it yourself.
No one can carry you.
People have been known to jump off
but miraculously, survive,
as long as they’re willing to try again
the following year.
Each person decides
how many times to pay a toll
and to whom
along the way.
And you pay with words,
tokens of your repentence:
“I forgive you.”
“Please forgive me.”
But what’s most amazing
is that you’re supposed to keep turning around
as you walk,
turning around
to face four corners
and everything in between,
turning around
to make sure you’ve seen every person
and the scope of your past year
so you can pay up and start fresh
on the other side.
And instead of getting dizzy
as you cross
you feel lighter, and cleaner,
more at-one with yourself
and all the other travelers
and the earth below the water
beneath your feet.
Venice has its Bridge of Sighs;
but this is the Bridge of Awe.

Janet Ruth Falon, the author of The Jewish Journaling Book (Jewish Lights, 2004), teaches a variety of writing classes — including journaling and creative expression — at many places, including the University of Pennsylvania. She leads a non-fiction writing group and works with individual students, and is continuing to write Jewish-themed readings for what she hopes will become a book, In the Spirit of the Holidays.

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