Sunday, September 16, 2012

Jewish New Year & Peacemaking

I am reminded by my Jewish friends & colleagues, that a New Year us upon us - Rosh Hashanah.

It seems to me that every person - in any religious tradition or no religious tradition - needs time to consider our own tendency toward evil - our greed, jealousy, & tendency to want to prevail over others.

We are all human.

We all struggle with our own selfishness & our own failings.

Even if we understand that we are called to be perfect - and even as we hope for making the world better, more peaceable & loving.  We all need to admit our failures - own them - and work for a better future!

For some of us - this new & better future comes with theological reflection & deep insight from the Holy -  as most religious traditions have core themes reflecting the need to seek forgiveness & reconciliation.  For others, this new & better future emerges with human will & decision derived from moral development tied to human evolution.

We can, though, create space for peace (an idea with a great book tied to it, by the way!)

Photo from:

As I read the words of Rabbi Howard Cooper (below) - I value his insight into the Jewish New Year as a time to reflect.  His words, I believe, give us each pause to reflect on what we can do to make the world a better place - by reflecting on our past year - as we  imagine & create with others - a better future.

Howard wrote:

As I move this evening into the New Year, 5773 in that ancient poetic tradition of the Jewish people, I think of the names this day of Rosh Hashanah has accrued to itself over the generations.

Yom Ha-Zikkaron – the Day of Remembering, the day we look back at the year now vanishing, moment by moment, along with our lives, and we recall what we have done and what we have failed to do, what has been significant and what has passed away apparently without trace – though do we not intuit that ‘significance’ is subjective, and deeply so, and that we may have no real perspective from which to view what has really mattered in all we have done, for good or ill.

Yom Teruah – the Day of Calling, the day we blow the shofar, eliding time, taking us back to mythic Sinai, taking us forward to the end of time when tradition says the shofar will again be heard - and we will finally be released from the burden and blessing of eternal Jewish hopefulness.

Yom Ha-Din – the Day of Judgement, about which no more need be said than Kafka’s unsurpassable words: ‘Only our concept of Time makes it possible for us to speak of the Day of Judgement by that name; in reality it is a summary court in perpetual session.’

May this be a year of peace.

Toward eupan ~

~ marty alan michelson, ph.d.

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