Happy New Year! Just a few short months ago we were saying Shanah Tova, Happy New Year for the holiday of Rosh Hashanah. We were evaluating how we had missed the mark in the past year, and what T’shuvah, turning or re-dedication, we could do for the next year. We contemplated re-evaluating our priorities, making more time for what is truly important in life. We may have asked what God wanted us to do to be a better person, a better Jew, a better ME? We may have been inspired to think differently, or act differently by our holiday worship, sermons or time spent with family. Only a few short months ago many of these topics were on our mind.
But what is on your mind as you prepare for the secular New Year? Will you join a gym or rededicate to a diet? Will you resolve to get out of debt or save money? How many years have you made the same resolution? How long in the next year have you managed to keep them?
Perhaps if we could put our Jewish lens onto the secular New Year we could change our thinking and have more success. Rather than resolution, perhaps we could think about T’shuvah. How would you return? How would you turn yourself? Would it be the same things you thought of at Rosh Hashanah, commitments just as fleeting as a New Year’s resolution? Or would it be another opportunity to take aim; to re-focus on an important goal and check if your path is heading toward it or veering off course?
The traditions of the High Holidays allow for nearly step-by-step, year-by-year reminders of how to re-aim, and what some of the goals of T’shuvah may be. With the secular New Year we don’t have that guidance. But we do have other ways we as a community can support your choices, your evaluations and your commitments to change. We have our regular Shabbat worship, always available to help you connect to the community, God, and the Jewish People. We have a weekday walkers club, to help you find community in your commitment to health. Rabbi Weber and I are still available if you’d like to speak about your passion and joy, or anything in your life we might better be able to support. There are many other Temple programs, educational, social and spiritual in nature which you may find help you be the better you that you were aiming for.
I wish you a very happy New Year, and pray that your resolutions will not be fleeting, but will return you to a path of dedication, a path of community, and a path where it is never too late to re-aim and try again.