New Year - what liberating words. Those two little words bring such new hope, a clean slate, a new beginning. For most, January 1st is the clean slate day. At work, we joke about how we have to do it all over again, ugh! I know so many friends that say they will start their "diet" on January 2nd, or they will start going to the gym and getting healthier. But for the Jewish New Year, it's not the same feeling. It is as if New Year holds a different meaning, this one is for the soul.
We go to synagogue, ask for forgiveness, and hope to be put in the book of life. What does all of that mean? For many, it is a time to reflect inward. I have to be honest, I don't attend synagogue on a regular basis. For me I go at the very least twice a year, during Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. In between, if there is a B'Nai Mitzvah to attend, or a special occasion, we will attend services. However, I must say, during this time each fall, the holidays cause me to start reflecting on the year that just passed.
This year has been a whirlwind and the one thing that sticks out in my mind is my individual awareness and recognition of how far we have come as Jewish people, yet how far we still have to go. I have recently been reading so much and learning so much more about the BDS movement, the anti-Semitism that still rocks our world, and then all the violence that has ripped our country apart in the past year. It saddens me that this is the world we live in, the one I have brought my children up in. However, amongst all this sadness and violence, there are still good stories that emerge. The young black child that went to his local police department last week to give the police officers "free hugs", the Ohio police officer that drove the young man over a hundred miles to his family after his sister was killed in a car accident, the passing of anti-BDS measures across New Jersey, these are the stories that bring me hope.
I do find it hard sometimes to feel hope, I think we all do when we are faced with tragedy after tragedy. But then we must remind ourselves, and each other about the goodness that exists. People can be good if we just give them a chance. If we don't jump to conclusions, if we treat each other with respect, if we tolerate, and hopefully one day accept each of our differences, we can be the catalyst to making this country and world a wonderful place to bring our children into and raise a family. At the end of the day that is all I really want: I want my children to be happy and feel safe. May this New Year bring you peace, health and happiness. From my family to yours, Shana Tova.