L’shana Tovah! Once again the calendar turns and we come face to face with the dawn of a new year. 5774!
For many of us we will spend some time, either in synagogue or in private, reflecting on this past year and expressing hopes and dreams for the year that now begins. We look in the mirror and perhaps see a few more lines and wrinkles and try not to dwell too much on the aging process that seems to be our new companion.
It is a time for families and friends. It is a time for memory as we will reflect on those who are with us in our souls, but have left physical life. It seems their absence is more strongly felt at this season.
The prayers and themes of the Holidays speak a lot to the idea of change and transition.Indeed, the entire Jewish world is in a state of flux and change in America (my Rosh Hoshonnah sermon!). The “new” American Judaism that is being created is one that offers great challenges and hope for a different Jewish future.
Yet, there is always the constant of the power of community. In the end, we seek the love and companionship of others. As we ourselves age, the fear of being truly “alone” gnaws at us.
That is the power, by the way, of part of the first Torah portion which contains the famous line from Genesis 2:18 that it is not good for us to be alone. It is way more profound than just finding a mate. It speaks to the desire for us to be in relationship with others.
In this coming year, I hope that each of us can find those individuals and moments when we feel connected and loved.Just think of those great and meaningful moments in your own life and how they were enhanced and made more powerful when you were able to share them with someone. And how empty it felt when there was no one to experience them with.
Let this be a year of renewed relationships for all of us. In them we can find our own sense of meaning.
May you be blessed with a year of peace, joy and health.
Rabbi Richard F. Address, D.Min
Rabbi Richard F. Address, D.Min, is the Founder and Director of www.jewishsacredaging.com. Rabbi Address served for over three decades on staff of the Union for Reform Judaism; first as a Regional Director and then, beginning in 1997, as Founder and Director of the URJ’s Department of Jewish Family Concerns and served as a specialist and consultant for the North American Reform Movement in the areas of family related programming. Rabbi Address was ordained from Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in 1972 and began his rabbinic career in Los Angeles congregations. He also served as a part time rabbi for Beth Hillel in Carmel, NJ while regional director and, after his URJ tenure, served as senior rabbi of Congregation M’kor Shalom in Cherry Hill, NJ from 2011-2014.