created at: 2012-09-20

Posted by Barbara Sternfield

As we approach the High Holy Day season, a time of reflection and renewal, I am reminded of the powerful prayer recited during the High Holy Days: “Do not cast me off in old age; do not abandon me as my strength fails.” (Psalms 71:9).

As a member of the JF&CS Jewish Healing Connections team since its inception in 1998, I have spent years of reflection on this prayer and its place in the liturgy during this season of introspection. I would like to share some of my thoughts.

Jewish tradition teaches, “You shall rise before the aged and show deference to the old.” (Lev. 19:32) Why is this so important that it is stated in the Bible? In popular culture, old age is not pretty or exciting. Many things having to do with the aging process are treated as if they are a disease. We have creams and botox for wrinkles and dyes and treatments for hair. Go into any CVS or Walgreens and count the number of products that have to do with beautification. Our greeting cards are all jokes about being “over the hill” – when the number is over 30! The latest catchphrase is “60 is the new 40”.

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