The Jewish New Year is celebrated in the early fall—as good a time as any, I guess, for a year to “begin.”
In truth, of course, we can begin a year at any point. And indeed Rosh Hashanna is just one of a number of different “New Years" on the Jewish calendar, including one dear to my heart: the Jewish New Year for the Trees (which usually falls in February).
But there is something especially fitting about looking ahead toward a New Year here in September, at the very moment when the leaves are beginning to turn and nature is wrapping up its season of warmth, and growth, and fecundity. The message perhaps is that—over the coming months at least—we’ll have to look for warmth, and growth, and fecundity elsewhere. Questions suggest themselves: How should we do that? Who will we partner with to that end? Are we coming into this New Year with any new insights, abilities, commitments? Are we coming into this New Year with new questions, fresh losses, and nascent challenges that need caring for?
A few years ago we started a new tradition of beginning our PCS/Joyful Judaism High Holiday services with a half hour of meditation, to better set the tone and the mood for the service and, we hope, the year to come. The truth is: Everything changes. In meditation we may ask ourselves: What changes may we encounter this year? Will we be prepared to welcome the welcome changes; will we be prepared to fully encounter all of the other changes? How might we better maintain our equanimity in the face of such a dynamic world? And what are we prepared to do this year to help others?
To all of you, many blessings for this coming season!
Rabbi Mark Sameth is the spiritual leader of Joyful Judaism: Pleasantville Community Synagogue an inclusive, progressive synagogue—with members from 20 towns, villages and cities all across Westchester and “A Hebrew School Your Kids Can Love.” Read The New York Times article. Follow Rabbi Mark on Twitter . Weekly meditation at the synagogue every Saturday morning at 9 a.m. is open to the public; everyone—without exception—is welcome and warmly invited. LIMITED HIGH HOLIDAY TICKETS AVAILABLE (914) 769-2672. See “Top Ten Reasons to Join PCS” at www.ShalomPCS.com.