Rosh Hashanah is coming, and for the first time, I will be alone due to the coronavirus.

What did I do last year on Rosh Hashanah? I don’t remember. It seems so far away. I must have gone to shul. I did celebrate with my family. Like everyone else, it seems like life is divided: before corona and after corona.

I can remember as a child going to theWhat did I do last year on Rosh Hashanah? Woodrow Avenue Shul, sitting upstairs with the women, looking down from the balcony and seeing my father and grandfathers. There were tears in my eyes as I heard the sounding of the shofar and the chazzan and the choir singing “Avinu Malkenu”. The shofar’s sound is like an alarm that calls on us to examine our deeds and correct our ways, as we return to G‑d.1

I have such sweet memories to savor from those years; the prayers, the singing, the sounding of the shofar, praying from the depths of my soul for the well-being of my family and all the Jewish people.

Our family walked together to our grandparents for dinner. Once we arrived, the tumult began. Where should everyone sit along the table, which extended from the dining room into the living room? The upper tier in the living room was reserved for the two sons. The lower tier was first come, first serve, except for my Aunt Leah. One year I tried to sit at the end seat and discovered that it was also reserved.

My Aunt Leah, tall and with a scarf around her neck that made her look like a giraffe with a sore throat, let me know in no uncertain terms, “That is my seat.”

My cousin, Eileen, always landed beside me to pump me for information.

“Be nice to Eileen,” Mom always warned.

I finally figured out being nice to Eileen meant that anything I said could and would be used against me.

When it was time to eat, Aunt Leah summoned everyone to dinner as if she were blowing the shofar, saying, “It’s time.”

Two round braided raisin challahs covered by a beautiful challah cover stood in front of my grandparents along with my grandmother’s candelabra. They were round to symbolize our wish for a year in which life and blessings continue without end.

Apples with a bottle of honey were ready to be passed down the table. The apple coupled with the honey was symbolic of the ultra-sweet year we wished for.

There was a head of a fish on the table. It symbolized our desire to be heads—confident leaders doing what’s right, not followers that had no higher purpose.

The second day, the family walked to my father’s parents. There, it was smaller and less noisy. We sat around the large table set up in the living room. Usually, an aunt and uncle or a distant cousin joined.

As time went on, I married, and my family stayed with my Mom and Dad for Rosh Hashanah.

On my Dad’s last Rosh Hashanah, we persuaded him to join us for dinner even though he could not eat. He was too ill to accompany us to shul.

Adam, my husband, brought his shofar to give my Dad the opportunity to hear it. We all listened. I had tears in my eyes.

Eventually, I hosted Rosh Hashanah with my children and their families.

On Adam’s last Rosh Hashanah, since heMy rabbi kindly offered to come and blow the shofar for me couldn’t make it to shul, he prayed at home and blew the shofar in the living room in front of the fireplace. I cried while hearing the sounds. The shofar’s cry reminds us of the tears shed for the destruction of the Holy Temple. It also mimics the cry of the soul expressing its wish to return to its Creator.

This year I was worried about how I would be able to hear the shofar since I am stuck at home due to the coronavirus. My rabbi, Rabbi Fogelman from Chabad, kindly offered to come by and blow the shofar for me so I could partake in this special mitzvah. I know I will be emotional hearing it.

As Rosh Hashanah approaches, I will set the table with a white tablecloth. I will look forward to the raisin challahs, gefilte fish, chicken soup and brisket my children brought for me to eat.

And then, I realized that I must find Adam’s shofar. I ran all over the house looking in his tallit bags and in his bookcases. There it was, sitting on the very same shelf where he left it.

I picked it up and placed it on the dining-room table.

I will set up all my candles in their candlesticks to light them and say the blessing before sunset.

Then I will sing songs, say prayers and eat my dinner.

I will not be alone on the holiday. The memory of my husband’s sounding of his shofar is with me.