September brings with it a feeling of change is in the air. Between the cooling temperatures and the beginning of loss of color on some of the leaves, that special and different childlike feeling of freedom of summer that remains with us throughout our lives, begins to shift. Indeed, September is a season of change in the spiritual rhythm and calendar of our Jewish days, too.
But this year there is something even bigger in the air as we mark the first of September. It seems to be a loaded date, for it officially inaugurates a month that many of us feel anxiety and tension about.
September 11. There is something about the mark of time in decades, and especially a first decade. I can still remember the day I turned 10 years old. My birthday cake was covered in chocolate frosting with little flower shaped squirts of whipping cream, adorned with neon red maraschino cherries on a stem in the center.
To this day we still have the picture of me smiling and proudly holding up the cake with a mischievous smile, pretending I am licking the frosting off.
I remember how on that day my father explained to me that a 10th birthday is special because I am not just 10 years old on this birthday, but a decade old. He explained to me about decades, how every 10 years is a unit in time. He told me how many decades old he was, and then proceeded to go through a list of my living great-aunts and great-uncles, explaining to me how many decades old each of them was.