Rosh Hashanah 5778 Message from Stephen H. Hoffman
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Message from Stephen H. Hoffman
Rosh Hashanah can be a very tough holiday.
As we begin the process of contemplating our sins we can be very tough on ourselves. As we contemplate the state of our nation we can be even tougher on ourselves. And, as we think about where our relationship with Israel is going – well “tough” may not be the word; how about “complicated?”
Yet Rosh Hashanah also is a holiday of renewal and hope. We can account for our sins and resolve to be better to one another in the year ahead and recalibrate our relationship with the Almighty. We can also act to make our nation better by listening to one another, not being quick to label people with whom we disagree, and by dialoging on issues. Listening does not require abandoning our sense of right and wrong. But it does require active engagement with the other.
When it comes to Israel and discussions on religious practices and politics, the peace process, settlements, and the social gap, it’s all too easy to throw up our hands, even walk away. In fact, many worry that’s what is happening among our young people.
But here also I see Rosh Hashanah as a time to take it all in and keep a balance sheet handy of all I love about Israel – the warm, friendly people I meet there, the scientists whose research is improving the world, a little country that is quick to respond to national disasters around the world, a home for Jews who gathered from 125 countries around the world and built a vibrant Jewish, democratic state.
So, as we enter the Days of Awe, let’s add the good to our personal balance sheet and make the effort to ensure we and our loved ones will be inscribed in the Book of Life for another year – personally, as a community, as a nation, and as a global Jewish people. Let’s resolve to be charitable in deed and spirit. Our community will be what we make of it as will our nation. Israel belongs to all of us and it will be what we the Jewish people make of it.
Our 2018 Campaign for Jewish Needs asks “What inspires you?” I am inspired by you – the members of our community who provide the resources, human and financial, that allow us to build a just, caring Jewish community and society. Collectively you make a huge credit entry on the balance sheet of life.
May you and your loved ones be written down for a healthy, fulfilling new year.
P.S. If you think you need a little extra credit on that balance sheet, there’s a real need for more money for Hurricanes Harvey and Irma relief, based on reports we’re getting from Texas and Florida. Our emergency funds are helping the Jewish community and their neighbors rebuild.
Stephen H. Hoffman