Welcoming a Year of Growth and Learning

September 18, 2017

Welcoming a Year of Growth and Learning

by Jessy Gross

The great shofar is sounded…a still, small voice is heard! And so we come to yet another new year. It is a season to reflect on the ways in which we have come up short in the last year, in an active effort to start anew in the fresh year that is about to begin. We do this, not just as individuals, but within the communities in which we are part of. In what ways have we come up short? In what areas do we want to strive to do better in the year ahead?

To different degrees, every one of us lives in a world that moves increasingly faster and within frameworks that are constantly updating. The High Holy Day season reminds us of the wholeness and goodness stemming from that which is timeless and age old. It is a time to remember that time is not just counted by tick and tocks on a clock, nor by the reminders that beep and buzz for the next appointment or deadline. Time is something that moves in 

and out of seasons. And the Yamim Noraim (Rosh Hashanah to Yom Kippur) serves as a mirror into the life we have lived thus far, as well as, an invitation to shape and edit the changes we desire to make to live our lives more fully in the future to come.

We all come to the J for different reasons: to be healthier, to learn, to find community, to create. Each of us is on an individual journey and yet the J becomes a place that serves different needs of different people along their multi-faceted and unique journey. And while each of us may engage with the J in different ways, the sum of the individual motivations and reasons for being part of the J community equals a collective sum that far exceeds the total of just a bunch of individuals seeking to fulfill their personal needs. It results in community.

The High Holy Day season presents an interesting framework in which we have work to do both individually and collectively. We ask for forgiveness from G-d for the individual ways in which we miss the mark. And, hopefully, we turn to the people whom we have hurt or done wrong to over the last year and ask them to forgive us as well. But we also ask for collective forgiveness. We ask G-d to understand that our community is made up of those who both hit the mark and miss the mark on a regular basis. We acknowledge that, as a community, we are amongst both those who have lived their best lives and those who we hope will strive to make better decisions in the years to come. As a community, we embrace that we are collectively imperfect. We ask that G-d judge us favorably and take note of our strivings to be better as individuals and as a collective.

I hope that the year to come brings each of you and your families the wholeness and renewal that this season promises. And I wish that the year ahead brings our community into stronger relationship with one another as we move along our unique journeys. May we all be inscribed in the Book of Life for a good year, a sweet year; a year of growth and learning, peace and joy. 

Sign up for our newsletter