This Year We Can Look Ahead
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Typically, when one year ends and a new one begins, our reflections focus largely on the year that has passed – the highs, the lows, and everything in between. This Rosh Hashanah, we can bring our community even closer by looking ahead to where we want to be and how we can get there.
A year ago, it was hard to look forward. We entered last year’s holiday season with heaviness – and concern. How long would it take until we felt safe – even in small groups? When would we see our friends and family in person again?
This year is different – and, as a result, this year will be different. This year, we can look forward and see a community that knows how to respond to the evolving COVID-19 pandemic with thoughtfulness, concern for others’ well-being, and determination.
This year, we can look ahead and see how our community can galvanize itself against rising Jew hatred and be alert to erasive antisemitism that negates the rights of Jews individually or collectively to define their own identity, experience, and vulnerability. At the same time, we can avoid the pitfalls of the “cancel culture” by understanding the difference between shutting down diversity of thought or experience and holding someone accountable for their words and deeds.
This year, we know our children are not afraid to step forward and say “here I am” in times of trouble. From volunteering to help the isolated elderly to confronting antisemitism on their college campuses, young Jewish Clevelanders throughout our diverse community are ready to learn and lead.
May this year see the end to the pandemic. May this be the year that we see all forms of hate eradicated. May this be the year that we elevate civil discourse and fulfill the Jewish value of makloket l’shem shemayim – constructive disagreements for the sake of heaven. May this be the year that we seek to understand each other without trying to win, convince, or judge. On Rosh Hashanah it is written and on Yom Kippur it is sealed.
Wishing you and your loved ones a Shabbat Shalom and Shana Tova U'Metukah, may we all be written in the book of life for a sweet, healthy, happy, and peaceful new year.
J. David Heller
Erika B. Rudin-Luria