A shana tova wake-up call

Joshua Rosenberg


Rosh Hashanah is a Jewish holiday for reflecting on the last year. We say L’shana Tova, happy new year, but it’s not a happy holiday, more a reflective one. Since around my Bar Mitzvah, I’ve come to think of Rosh Hashanah as a chance to take comfort, usually at an otherwise busy time of the year. This year is no different in both ways.

The high point of Rosh Hashanah is when the shofar (literally a ram’s horn) is sounded. It asks us to take up from the last year and to reflect and say sorry. I am thinking about this in the context of the present year and the question of what it means to awaken–or to choose to ignore to. There is no place (here, for me) to hide from doing what is right; no room to not act in a way that is righteous, and no way to avoid justice.

I’m thinking about these things this year as there is a chance for me, like many Jews, to sit quietly or to speak out about injustices; to use the Jewish story of liberty as a chance to consider the liberty of those without it; to be thankful while also not growing complacent. I fell short in these and in other ways in the last year; they and how I can be a better family member and friend this next year are the things on which I’m dwelling.