Publishing our annual Top Teens is always one of the highlights of the year. It’s exciting getting to know future leaders and learn what drives them and what they have accomplished. But this year, the Top Teens section also had a tinge of sadness, because there was an unfortunate topic that was repeated in a few of the entries: gun violence.
While it’s inspiring to see teens finding their voices to advocate for change and safety, or working to ensure that their schools have safe spaces for their classmates to process that trauma, it’s unbelievably sad that gun violence has become these teens’ “normal.”
One student I interviewed had experienced deadly gun violence both in high school and then, during her first week of college, there too. While I was expressing my condolences and upset, this college freshman, although not detached, was taking it in stride. This was all too normal for her.
My fervent prayer this Rosh Hashanah is that the adults in our society find ways to effectively address the epidemic of gun violence in our communities so that students, faculty and staff can go to school without fear, and so that our young people don’t have to bear the burden of us adults failing at this essential task.
May today’s young people continue to inspire us with their resilience, leadership and sense of community.
Rosh Hashanah is a time for reflection, a time for anticipation, a time for prayer and a time for deeds.
May all these activities bring you comfort, motivation and optimism for the year ahead.
As I’ve made the rounds in the past year, I’ve felt a common theme: more than ever, people simply want to be heard. Given the stresses we’ve all faced, our brothers and sisters sometimes appear weary of the simple process of communicating; the frustration that results leads to acting out in ways some might later regret.
I found this dilemma in covering a number of stories in the past year where participants were fighting for a platform to voice opinion. In many cases, their frustration turned to anger simply because they felt stymied in their attempts to convey a peaceful argument.
That said, it is my hope for the coming year that we can all be better listeners — the key to better relationships on all levels. I’ll try to be better at that!
May the coming year be fulfilling, prosperous and healthy to you and your family, friends and loved ones.
This has been a very exciting year at the Intermountain Jewish News. We are blessed with our readership that we have had over the past 110 years. I have learned much about our history as well the people behind the growth of Israel and the Rocky Mountain area.
The 110th anniversary, for me, was a beautiful IJN-family year-long process. It was very special for me and I can’t wait for the 115th.
I wish the entire community, as well as my loving and wonderful family, a very happy and healthy New Year.
My prayer for the new year: May the State of Israel, the fulfillment of a 2,000-year-old dream, return to its sanity. May its leaders and politicians love the country more than they hate one another. And may the people of Israel realize, and act upon the realization, that we are brothers, we have no other state, and Jewish history will never forgive us if we blow this G-d given chance.
Shana tovah umetukah
A gut gebentsht yohr
In Hebrew . . . In Yiddish . . . In English . . .
And in our hearts and prayers,
Best wishes for a sweet, healthy, happy New Year.
From my family to yours.
L’shana tovah tikatevu — May you be inscribed for a good year.
Our traditional greeting typifies our celebration of Rosh Hashanah by looking ahead to the coming year instead of looking back at the old one. In our observance of the day, we seldom have a year-in-review like the ones on television on December 31. It’s an almost odd bit of optimism for a people steeped, sometimes mired, in our past.
Despite the past, Rosh Hashanah is about anticipation for a good year ahead. It is about imagining what tomorrow could be instead of mourning what yesterday was. The hopefulness we feel for the future on this day tastes as sweet as the honey we put to our lips. If only every day could feel the way that this one does.
L’shana tovah tikatevu — May you look forward to every day of the coming year with the same anticipation and hopefulness as Rosh Hashanah and may each day be to you as sweet as honey.
My prayers are for life, for forgiveness, for health, and for healing: physical, political, inner, interpersonal.
The Jewish New Year is an opportunity to see things more deeply, more carefully. While being fully aware of the surface failings of humanity, we look for the hidden signs of progress and redemption. We attempt to maintain a grand, long-range vision. This is the key to the secret of Jewish optimism. While not denying the negatives around us, we stay faithful to a vision of a world that is not governed by chaos, but by a deeper, hidden, mysterious unity.
During the season of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, we focus on penitential prayers. We confess our sins and shortcomings. But as we think more deeply about our deficiencies, we also look for our real selves, our deeper selves, our dreams and aspirations.
Rabbi Haim David Halevy, late Sephardic chief rabbi of Tel Aviv, noted that the high holy day period is symbolized by the shofar. The shofar must be bent, as a reminder that we, too, must bow ourselves in contrition and humility. But shortly after Yom Kippur comes Sukkot, with the lulav as a central symbol.
The lulav must be straight, not bent over. The lulav teaches us to stand strong and tall, to focus on our strengths and virtues. The holiday season, then, encourages us to first experience humility and contrition; then to move on to self-confidence and optimism.
Rosh Hashanah is a call to each individual to move to a higher level of understanding, behavior and activism. Teshuvah — repentance — means that we can improve ourselves, and that others can improve, and that the world can improve. This is the key to Jewish optimism, the key to the Jewish revolutionary vision for humanity, the key to personal happiness.
Best wishes for a happy, healthy New Year . . . and many good years to come. Tizku l’Shanim Rabbot.
“Kindness towards yourself, kindness towards another. Kindness, instead of noise, is a symphony so sweet. Every moment fills with gratitude.” — Prem Rawat
At this time of Rosh Hashanah, the solution to the great puzzle of life is unity. It is a time when all Jews in America, Israel and around the world pray for peace together as one.
We wish all of you a sweet, healthy and prosperous New Year, one of peace, harmony and completeness.
May this coming year bring the blessings of life, health, healing, repair, increased peace, tranquility, understanding, kindness and sweetness for the entire world, the entire Jewish People, the land of Israel, and within each of our private worlds.
L’shana tova to you and yours.
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