Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Happy Jewish New Year - L'Shana Tovah

Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, is the beginning of one of my favorite, impactful, and challenging times of the year. It is a significant time dedicated to reflection, thoughts for change, memories of the past personally and historically, and commitment and plans for fresh starts personally, professionally, and in local, national and global communities. It's also a time for family gatherings, special meals and sweet tasting foods, especially apples and honey.

Rosh Hashanah is the start of a ten day period of celebration through Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement -- a solemn day that involves fasting, reflection and prayers.

Somewhat like the world's New Year, which takes place at the start of January, Jewish people commit to resolutions, but don't call them resolutions. For example, wanting to lose weight, quit smoking or start exercising are important life-altering behavioral changes, but on this holiday our commitments run deeper and involve change that centers around righting the wrongs we have done to others, and to ourselves, and to establish new paths for growth, change and Jewish learning moving forward. It's as if we get to the meaning behind how we feel, the anger we have against ourselves and the emotional and physical commitment to make a change.

Another example for me would be the importance of teaching Sarah now that she's getting older about Jewish heritage and culture, and to help her learn and understand history and traditions.

What I find even more special about this time of year is that it's a chance to look back over the last year, and truly reflect, and see what life has been like not just for us as individuals but as a world, and what has impacted us all.

It's this time in the year that many of us identify our accomplishments, which sometimes get dusted under the rug due to the busyness of life. It's time to look at the wrongs we have made and how to make them right. It's also time to learn ways in which we want to get more involved in local, nationwide and global communities to help make a difference.

With Sarah approaching the age of four, Daniel and I have a great responsibility to help educate her about Jewish life, traditions, values, and our religion's history. This is where I make my second commitment to learn more about Jewish history in a way that I can help explain it to her so that it ignites discussion and interest.

I look forward to educating Sarah on the traditions I grew up with and have fostered into adulthood, and creating new memories with her to have for years to come.

For those of us, where religion is an important part of our lives, it is our responsibility to help guide our children to understand what it means to BELIEVE, have faith and learn that there is a higher power beyond us in which we connect with emotionally and spiritually.

To all of us who are Jewish and celebrate this New Year, I wish you a sweet and joyous year, prosperity, love, happiness and, most importantly, good health.

Happy New Year. L'Shana Tovah.

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