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Sep 14 2012

Rosh Hashanah for a Marine Household

By at 12:20 pm

marine corpsTwo years ago, on the first day of Rosh Hashanah, our moving truck pulled up to our current home in Pensacola, Florida. The move was arranged through the Marine Corps, and did not take into consideration that it was a Jewish holiday. While this might have seemed like a great excuse to skip services, my husband was determined to walk to shul that morning to pray.

Part of this determination stemmed from living, for the past four years, over an hour away from a Conservative congregation. Even when he wasn’t deployed, he struggled just to get to a meaningful High Holiday service.

My husband had also just returned from a seven-month deployment on a Navy ship. After so long in the middle of the ocean, he was looking forward to the walk and to gathering with more than a handful of Jews for a major holiday.

The deployment also gave me the confidence to take on the moving day alone. I had taken care of our two children and everything else for seven months, and I knew I could handle another morning.

The main challenge to that day was our 18 month old son. I knew I would not be able to oversee the movers while also keeping him safe, napped, and happy. Thankfully, I was able to call up another Marine wife to pick up my son for the day. An advantage of being a Marine household is the tight-knit family you accumulate over the years. No matter where they send us, we are always coming “home” to some old friends. Since we are all separated from our families, we are very quick to take care of one another in times of need.

My friend showed up shortly after my husband left and we were both overjoyed to meet the children that had come along since we were last stationed together. We spent some time catching up before she drove off with my little guy, leaving me with my older child to handle the movers.

The task of guiding the placement of our belongings into a new home and making sure every box was accounted for was one I had gotten quite used to. Although it was my first time doing it alone, it was our fifth move in nine years of marriage.

At the end of that day, all of our boxes and furniture were safely in our new home, and our son had a new friend. Though it took some time to locate everyone’s holiday clothes the next morning, we were able to walk together on the second day of Rosh Hashanah to our new shul.

This year, Rosh Hashanah should be a lot calmer all around. My husband is now overseeing the synagogue’s High Holiday preparations, and I’m planning to help with the children’s services. We have walked the path between our home and the synagogue almost every week for the past two years and are looking forward to yet another wonderful walk this Rosh Hashanah as a family.


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