L’Shana Tova

Today marks the Jewish New Year.  La Shana Tova means for a good year.  Certainly sitting in shul is not an entertaining activity but for some very odd reason as I get older I actually enjoy the experience.  It is comforting and familiar.  A ritual.  My kids want to kill themselves but I felt the exact same way at their age. 

Our incredibly liberal temple is always entertaining and for some reason today reached new heights.  We arrived late and grabbed a few seats in the back.  Our friend, who blows the shofar every year and is one of the founders of the temple, asked me if I had a blackberry she could borrow.  I gave her mine.  It turned out that she was having a moment where she wasn’t quite sure that she remembered the order of sounds.  A total senior moment and I loved that she ran to the back of the temple to check on line.  Loved the whole exchange.

Then the entire congregation listened to a recording of Leonard Cohen singing Tower of Song.  Our rabbi discussed the importance of community.  Different communities that exist, how it isn’t always easy to bring something to the community and what exactly do you bring to it.  He felt that the song represented how Cohen who was raised in a orthodox community in Montreal was part of the Tower of Song community.  He had to pay his rent yet still figure out how to be part of the experience.  Conversation was abundant and mostly challenging but certainly made for an interesting service.  Ending this part of the service with the cantor singing Leonard Cohen’s song Hallelujah was classic. 

We had lunch with four other couples who we know from other communities including the temple.  All and all it was a very communal day.  So to everyone, L’Shana Tova!


Well my friends are gone and my hair is gray
I ache in the places where I used to play
And I’m crazy for love but I’m not coming on
I’m just paying my rent every day in the tower of song

I said to Hank Williams, “How lonely does it get?”
Hank Williams hasn’t answered yet
But I hear him coughing all night long
Oh, a hundred floors above me in the tower of song

I was born like this, I had no choice
I was born with the gift of a golden voice
And twenty-seven angels from the great beyond
They tied me to this table right here in the tower of song

So you can stick your little pins in that voodoo doll
I’m very sorry, baby, doesn’t look like me at all
I’m standing by the window where the light is strong
Ah they don’t let a woman kill you not in the tower of song

Now you can say that I’ve grown bitter but of this you may be sure
The rich have got their channels in the bedrooms of the poor
And there’s a mighty judgment coming, but I may be wrong
You see, you hear these funny voices in the tower of song

I see you standing on the other side
I don’t know how the river got so wide
I loved you baby, way back when
And all the bridges are burning that we might have crossed
But I feel so close to everything that we lost
We’ll never, we’ll never have to lose it again

Now I bid you farewell, I don’t know when I’ll be back
They’re moving us tomorrow to that tower down the track
But you’ll be hearing from me baby, long after I’m gone
I’ll be speaking to you sweetly from a window in the tower of song

Yeah, my friends are gone and my head is gray
I ache in the places where I used to play
And I’m crazy for love but I’m not coming on
I’m just paying my rent every day in the tower of son

Comments (Archived):

  1. Sunchowder

    Beautiful post Joanne!

  2. Steven Kane

    There is a crack,A crack in everything.That’s how the light gets in.- Leonard Cohen, “Anthem”

    1. Gotham Gal

      Nice one. Great lyric.

  3. ShanaC

    Happy Post Rosh Hashanna (onto Yom Kippur)I like the Leonard Cohen, don’t laugh, this is the first time I have heard of him.I know about your shul through its ex-involvement in Bikkurim. I have to ask, how is the organization of the minyan set up- shouldn’t the gabbai be in charge of knowing the notes of the shofar in case all things fail?

    1. Gotham Gal

      You need to get out into the world and see how reform Jews exist