How to Find and Raise Your Voice

By Suzanne Schecter

My Jewish life did not involve a whole lot of intention before finding BJ. The High Holy Days consisted of the celebration of a new year and time to reflect on the past year, with hopes of receiving forgiveness from some mythical place on high. I would most often find myself scrambling during the repetition of Kol Nidre, trying to think of all of the “bad” things I had done, most often being left with a lot of anxiety that my brain was empty and nothing had come to mind. I felt so inadequate. Was I the only person sitting in the sanctuary with my mind blank?

And then came my first Kol Nidre at BJ, in a church on Central Park West—all marble and white. Nothing felt familiar other than that scrambled mind—searching for the moments. And then came Ya’ale. I had never heard anything so beautiful. Marcelo and Felicia’s voices washed over me and I wept with the holiness of that moment. I stayed with this medieval poem long after the service carried on, with the stunning a sense of relief that it might be good enough just to raise my voice for now. I could give myself a break, and raise my voice. I could also commit to doing some work going forward for next year.

“Let our voices rise to You in the evening, our unsung deeds come to You in the morning, so our true redemption shall appear by evening.”

About Suzanne Schecter

Suzanne and her husband, Todd Ruback, joined BJ in late 2006. Having not been part of a formal Jewish community since leaving their respective parental homes, BJ has become a incredibly integral part of their lives. Suzanne is First Vice President of the Board of Trustees at BJ and is massively grateful to have the opportunity to serve this community.