About ten years ago--I guess dating to about the time my daughters flew the coop--I stopped going to synagogue.
I never enjoyed going to temple, never really respected the wisdom of the rabbis or felt a tremendous amount of wisdom in the liturgy. Not as a child. Not as a teenager. Not as a young man. Not now as an old man.
But my wife goes and out of respect for her and her ardent desire to religiossify our children, for decades I dutifully put on a too-small suit, laced up my highly-polished shoes, and made my way to this temple or that.
My central problem with the Jewish religion is as simple as a punch in the face.
I can't reconcile a belief in god with the annihilation of six-million Jews by the Nazis and their co-conspirators. I can't pray, respect, or even acknowledge any being--supreme or otherwise--who would allow such horror to occur.
That said, I try, I try with all my heart, to take Rosh ha-Shanna off as well as time off around Yom Kippur and Passover--the Jewish Trifecta.
As much as I disdain religion--and all the hypocrisy that comes with any organized religion--I am a Jew and there are certain Jewish appurtenances that I have elected to follow.
This is the beginning of the Jewish New Year and the ten days of awe.
A time when we are meant to reflect on our year. The good we have done, and more important, the bad.
I think about the shortcuts I have taken for expedience's sake. I think about the times I have lost my temper. The times I have been less than good as a husband, a father, a co-worker, a citizen, a friend.
I think about all that, and how I can be a better person.
You don't have to be Jewish to do this, in my opinion, just human.
So, I'm taking the day off today.
I'm trying to avoid the inevitable conference calls and the even-more-inevitable emails.
And I'm trying to reflect, to be introspective, to think about how I can be a better person.
It's not a bad way to end one year and start a new one.