As we prepare to welcome the Jewish New Year, beginning at sundown on Sunday, we can’t help but wonder what the coming year will bring. We have survived a year of instability and uncertainty both here and in Israel, and there are disquieting projections for the future. But there is hope.
There is hope despite President Trump’s recent prediction that if the Democrats recapture the House of Representatives in November’s midterm elections, “they will overturn everything that we’ve done and they will do it quickly and violently. And violently. There is violence.”
While we refuse to attach too much meaning to the president’s off-the-cuff remarks — or his questionable tweets — we do see the recurring confrontational and threatening rhetoric as a sign of a fractious political landscape, one that is unlikely to get less divisive in the year to come.
To endure such disorder, we support adopting our community’s approach to Rosh Hashanah itself. It is a time for renewal, introspection and self-evaluation — all designed to provide an opportunity to examine, reset and recalibrate our priorities.
The sideshow of American politics is largely just that — a sideshow. Far more threatening is the danger faced by our brothers and sisters in Israel, staring down the proverbial gun barrel of Palestinian terror. Far more concerning is the identity crisis faced by the American Jewish community and a cohort of youth who have turned away from organized religion. And far more compelling is the recurring and disturbing need of our poor and aging citizens for food, clothing, shelter and health care. Those are the things we should be focused on as we usher in the New Year.
The saving grace in these turbulent times is the many people of goodwill — Jews and gentiles alike, and many of the social service and religion-based organizations that represent them — who have spoken up, marched, volunteered and donated money to advance the American ideal and the Jewish value that every person is created in the image of God. That’s the spirit that will ultimately keep our children engaged even when they’re not sitting in a synagogue’s pew. That’s the motivator for the care and concern that will keep our community strong and resilient even as the political winds threaten to tear it apart.
While we are very much aware of the storm clouds brewing, we know that the promise of the High Holidays is a tomorrow that is better than today. We look forward to it, and wish our readers and community a happy, healthy and rewarding New Year. May our actions merit being written into the Book of Life. PJC