Andrea Jacobs: My brother met the poet Robert Frost many, many years ago at Johns Hopkins, where he was a student. “He wasn’t that nice; rather unfriendly,” my brother remembers. But Frost’s poetry reflects a different aspect.
Take these lines from “Birches,” written in 1916:“I’d like to get away from earth awhile“And then come back to it and begin over . . .“I’d like to go by climbing a birch tree,“And climb black branches up a snow-white trunk“Toward heaven, till the tree could bear no more,“But dipped its top and set me down again.“That would be good both going and coming back.“One could do worse than be a swinger of birches.”
This is poetic teshuva.
Now listen to the words of Shlomo Carlebach:“Return to what you are, “Return to who you are,“Return to where you are“Born and reborn and reborn.”
Whether a New England poet or a Jewish composer and singer, we all make teshuva in the ways that are open to us.
I wish you the joy of returning, and the peace that awaits you there.
Amy Lederman, "Reflections": As we enter 5774, my blessing is inspired by the words of the Talmud: “May you live to see your world and dreams fulfilled, may you be our link to future generations, may your heart conceive with understanding and may your mouth speak wisdom and sounds of joy”.
Le-shana tovah to all of our wonderful readers!
Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: This year marks the 40th anniversary of the Yom Kippur War, a frightening event of blackouts, deaths, threat to the existence of Israel and miraculous victory; the 50th anniversary of the peaceful March on Washington, at which the completion of the Declaration of Independence (“all men” [not “all white men”] “are created equal”) took a giant leap forward; the 80th anniversary of the passing of the great sage and scholar, the Chofetz Chaim; and the 750th anniversary of the Dispute at Tortosa, at which Nachmanides was coerced to defend the religion of Judaism against Christianity before the King of Spain, and, for winning the debate, was exiled. I pray that the coming year witnesses its own momentous events: an end to hatred of Israel; full equality before the Creator, not least by an end to human trafficking; and continued growth in the knowledge of Torah and its observance, especially Shabbos.
Miriam Goldberg: I give thanks for my family and hope that this year, the eternal prayer for peace, will be answered.
Shana R. Goldberg, "Rocky Mountain Jew": According to Maimonides, we sound the shofar on Rosh Hashanah to jar us out of our stupor and shake us up: Life is happening now. Be present. Be aware. Fifty years ago, Martin Luther King, Jr. made a speech in Washington that served a similar role to that of the ram’s horn. With his “I have a dream” speech, Dr. King roused a nation.
But his words, and their message of yearning for a better future, also transcend the specific and speak to us as individuals: What are our dreams? For ourselves, for our society?
On this Rosh Hashanah, two days set aside for contemplating these kinds of questions, I pray that we seize the opportunity to dream, and remain receptive to the shofar blast.
Jerry Mellman: My beloved wife Gen passed away on April 30. She was 78 years old. I wish I could express how much I miss her. We would have celebrated our 61st wedding anniversary on Sept. 7.
Our four gifted children Barbara, Lisa, Marti and David and nine grandchildren and one great-grandchild have been a blessing.
I especially want to thank the Intermountain Jewish News staff — Miriam, Hillel, Larry, Andrea, Chris, Lori, Jeff, Seiji, Carol, Beth, Jessica, Dave, Tehilla, Shana and Elaine — for the role they and all the members of this renowned and celebrated publication have played in my life. I wish all a Happy New Year.
Rabbis Yisroel and Shloime Engel, "Dear Tzviling": The Shofar. So simple, yet so majestic.
So universal, yet so unique.
So simple, yet so moving.
The shofar is narrow on one end and broad on the other.
The broad end is where the horn was attached to the animal’s head.
The narrow end is the tip of the horn.
The shofar is blown from the narrow end.
If one blows from the wide end, he does not perform the mitzvah.
What is the lesson?
The narrow end represents our efforts, our change, our baby steps.
The wide end is the sound of G-d’s response:
The blessings from above.
Change is good.
Teshuva is easy.
Just make a small opening.
Begin with one extra good deed.
For your neighbor.
For your spouse.
And G-d will open up His gates for you.
May G-d grant all of us a year of health, prosperity, joy, nachas and a year of peace in Israel and indeed throughout the world.
May this be the year.
May Moshiach come.
And the shofar will be heard once again.
Larry Hankin: Long before there were all the self-help books and self-improvement gurus on television, there was Torah.
If, in 5774, we wish to find contentment, realize our potential, get healthier, enjoy better relations with family and friends, we need look no further than the Torah and the ensuing commentaries in the Talmud for what may appear to be simple approaches to life, but, under the surface, are deep and insightful.
My charge to our readers (and myself) in 5774 is to take advantage of the hundreds of classes offered throughout the Jewish community by synagogues and outreach organizations. Find out how our ancient Torah and our Sages’ words are surprisingly relevant to the issue and concerns of today.
I wish all our readers a very happy and fulfilling New Year. Thank you for keeping the IJN going strong for 100 years.
Lori Aron: I thank Hashem for all that He has done for me and my family. For the New Year, may we all continue to be blessed with happiness and good health.
I’m grateful for the understanding that all things in life — both the good and the bad — are controlled by His infinite wisdom. I look forward to cherishing each moment and receiving continued blessings.
I pray that my son Dylan will continue to challenge himself and excel in life as the good and fine person he has become. I pray for Mani’s continued success.
To my mom, brother and his family, friends and the community, a happy and healthy New Year.
Beth Horwitz: May Hashem be our source of health, love, joy, abundance, longevity, peace and wholeness as we are once again inscribed into the book of life by the Alm-ghty in 5774.
We must always remember we are his partners, the Eternal’s co-workers in our ongoing work of creation. We exist in this world for much more than pursuing our own pleasures. May we continue to elevate and be blessed.
During tashlich may we cast out any bitterness, hate and anxiety as we keep our mind free from intensity, acrimonious thought and agitation.
I wish all of you a wonderful le-shana tova tikatevu as you are inscribed and sealed in the Book of Life.
Tehilla R. Goldberg, "View from Central Park": “Our Father, our King, may this moment be a moment of compassion and a time of favor before You. . . In the book of life, blessing and peace, and good livelihood, may we be remembered and inscribed before You — we, the entire people, the family of Israel, for a good life and for peace” — from the Rosh Hashanah prayers.
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