This month we’re starting to highlight topics that reflect BMG’s commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion. We’ll feature pieces written by team members on a variety of seasonal and timely subjects of interest. From time to time, we’ll also update you on milestones and progress made on BMG’s Diversity & Inclusion initiative. We kick it off with personal reflections about two major Jewish holidays celebrated this month, from Houston-based Legal Assistant Jasmine Kelley.

I attend a Messianic Jewish congregation that celebrates Hebrew traditions. Two of the biggest holidays in our faith are observed this month: Rosh Hashanah is celebrated on September 6-8 followed by Yom Kippur on September 15-16. As a bit of background, though I am barely ethnically Jewish, I took an interest in Judaism through stories shared by my grandmother, the 13th child born to a Jewish woman and an African-American Protestant man.

My grandmother raised me, so through her storytelling I became more interested in Jewish and Hebrew traditions. I attend Congregation Beth Messiah, and am looking forward to celebrating both Jewish high holy days – I’ll tell you a little about them here. If you like, you can also click on the link and read about the holidays under the High Holy Days tab up top.

Rosh Hashanah is the Jewish New Year, and we consider it the birthday of the world. We celebrate it over a three-day span – and it’s a time of prayer and self-reflection. On Rosh, I take stock of the past year and make amends to those I wronged. Some Jews fast on the third day of the holiday.

Yom Kippur means the day of atonement, and it’s the last day of a ten-day holiday period that starts with Rosh Hashanah. Fasting is an important aspect of Yom Kippur, so for a 24-hour period beginning at sundown, we abstain from eating anything until sundown the following day. During the holiday, there are five separate services that end with Ne’ilah when we speak words of reverence to rededicate ourselves to G-d (Jewish styling of God). The shofar blower blows the last shofar (rams horn), as the sun sets. After the service ends, my friends and I break our fast together with a nice dinner celebration.

I appreciate the opportunity to tell you a bit about Jewish holidays and traditions!