Under the harvest moon …


Our new year and Sukkot come early this year, since we are a moon community, not sun-worshippers.

The moon is our neighbor, a pale pal fairly easy to reach in this century.

That’s my sermon story for September: In this year of the seemingly endless plague pandemic, we should seek what is nearby as we stroll our blocks and take in the efforts of our neighbors to celebrate the seasons in their curbside front gardens.

Plus, the moon is ever-changing and, even in the cartoon world, has a human countenance, a smile and then a smirk as it fades off and hides until it peeks out again. Just like our Jewish moods and music and mockery.

Once our new year and its fast day of atonement are past, we then live and laugh with light lunacy (and with a nearby bottle of good Kosher liquor) in our modest huts with peekaboo roofs through which we can study the clouds overhead and the ever-changing face of the moon in the twilights and evenings.

I like to try to sum things up, to pick a detail from a season or a year, behind or before, and swing from it – like an hour in my grandchildren’s playgrounds during weekend visits. And I also like to swing my story from its nonsense.

For us, August was a month of reunions and of regard and respect for each passing or bygone summer sunbeam. We installed and dedicated a stone to recall my brother’s spirit, and we gathered our clan to also celebrate the ceremonies ahead of us, under the harvest moon of a new semester with its fresh friendships to add to auld acquaintance not soon forgot! (spelt thus in the lingo of the poet Robbie Burns).

And here’s my special footnote to my late brother’s sole granddaughter, Julia, who is making aliyah in Israel and who flew in for the unveiling: this printed and published prayer that she finds fulfillment and fellowship in our Promised Land. And that her dual citizenship may mean twice the loyalty and love that she has earned, as the moon shifts its mood ....

MIKE FINK (mfink33@aol.com) teaches at the Rhode Island School of Design.