Rosh Hashanah 5782: Make It A Better Year

I am an eternal optimist. But wow, it’s hard to be an optimist these days. Natural disasters abound, precipitated by and exacerbated by climate change—floods, hurricanes, drought, fires, tornadoes, and historical heat levels never before seen. COVID, which for a brief period of months appeared to be getting under control, continues to spread, hospitals are once again overwhelmed, and people continue to die. People would rather trust conspiracy theorists and take drugs meant for livestock than listen to science and medical experts and take a vaccine that has been proven to be effective.

Human beings continue to be treated as less than human—whether it’s because of their race, their gender, their religion, or their national origin. Immigrants are denied entry, women are denied the right to control their own bodies and treated as breeders, and people of color are abused and killed without any consequences for those who assaulted them. Gun violence hasn’t abated and in some places is worse. Our government is broken because hatred and greed and the lust for power rule instead of reason, kindness, and compromise. Our Supreme Court has become nothing but a rubber stamp for those who would oppress others. Add to all this the personal issues so many are facing, and it’s damn hard to be an optimist.

So how do I greet the new year? How do I wish people a shana tova, a good year, when things look so dire?

In these times it’s important to look backward instead of forward, I think. I find strength in knowing that my ancestors and others faced what must have seemed to them insurmountable obstacles and yet they survived—oppression, concentration camps, awful diseases, poverty, and hunger, things that most of us cannot imagine. They didn’t have our resources, our medical knowledge, our technology, our access to information. But they persevered. Of course, millions died from all those causes, but millions also survived. They went on with their lives—they fell in love, they pursued careers, they had children. They somehow found hope. We must also.

We must dig in deep and find the strength to make the glass at least half full. We must fight against climate change, COVID, evil politicians, and hatred and prejudice. Maybe we need to wallow for a bit and feel the despair. But then we must get back to making this a better world for our descendants so that someday they, too, can look back and be amazed by the resilience of their ancestors.

And so, shana tova. Make it a good year. It’s up to us.

By Gilabrand (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

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I will return to “regular programming” next Friday after the holiday.

26 thoughts on “Rosh Hashanah 5782: Make It A Better Year

  1. We must continue to learn from our past! As humans we are all responsible one for the other and hopefully will one day realize it!

    Thank you for so eloquently putting it into words and best wishes to you and your family for a healthy and happy new year

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Thank you, Amy, for such wise words. We cannot ignore the past nor can we bury our heads and try to ignore our present. We must resolve to make this New Year one of action against the forces of evil that seek to enslave us. Shana tova to you and your family.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Ava. I agree—I just wish I knew where to start and what to do. Giving money is a start, but it seems to need more than that. I just wish I knew what.

      Like

      • Thank you with all my heart for speaking so clearly and so eloquently! I was flooded with goose bumps as I read what you wrote. As to your statement, “Giving money is a start, but it seems to need more than that. I just wish I knew what,” I want to offer you what someone told me: “Whatever you do, don’t do it from fear.” For that past almost 6 years, I have held these words as a guidepost. I have done a lot of praying (and a lot of therapy) to clear the inner debris and calm the emotions enough to figure out what to do. It is an ongoing struggle because there is so much to be anxious about. But a high degree of anxiety clouds my thinking and prevents me from doing anything useful. Plus, whatever I “do,” I want it to come from as calm and clear a place as possible – for the best possible outcome. Thank you again for your words of clarity and of hope!

        Liked by 1 person

      • All that makes perfect sense to me. But the problems are so large and we are each so small—it will take a large force to make a difference. But we do have to start somewhere.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Dear Amy, you couldn’t have expressed better the feelings that I have been going through. Your words made me feel much more accompanied in these difficult times.

    Shana Tova 5782!

    With love Patricia

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Patricia—thank you so much for your thoughts. I will respond by email to the rest of your message (I edited it here for privacy reasons). Much love, Amy

      Like

  4. I have been reading the material entitled “Hadesh yameinu K’kedem.” It has come to mean renew our day as of old. We say it at the end of every tora service. YThe strange thing is that “kadima” also means “going forward”. It is true: we look backwards to find strength and resilience. It is also true that we look forward with hope and optimism in the future. Isn’t it wonderful that one word yields these two meanings??

    On Fri, Sep 3, 2021 at 8:34 AM Brotmanblog: A Family Journey wrote:

    > Amy posted: “I am an eternal optimist. But wow, it’s hard to be an > optimist these days. Natural disasters abound, precipitated by and > exacerbated by climate change—floods, hurricanes, drought, fires, > tornadoes, and historical heat levels never before seen. COVID, wh” >

    Liked by 1 person

  5. It’s always good to remember the struggles of the past as we ponder the changes we’d like to see in our future. Humans have a unique talent for cruelty to one another, but also for incredible acts of kindness. We just have to keep striving for the latter. Happy new year!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Hi Amy, shana tova to you. The sun is shining here and life is pretty good! Remembering the sacrifices our ancestor’s made helps us in some respects to look forward .

    Liked by 1 person

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