As we mark the beginning of the Jewish new year, many of my contemporaries and I enter a new decade of life.
Perhaps I’m feeling sentimental — or maybe it’s simply this time of the year. I remember my mother telling me that for her and many others, a feeling of “the blues” often accompanies the lead-up to the Jewish holidays. Perhaps we remember our loved ones who are no longer with us and were once an integral part of our lives and holiday observance. In addition, the enormity of standing before G-d and asking for forgiveness is no small task and can be incredibly moving, even intimidating, for many.
But since we do not have the luxury of going backwards, may we look forward. In a sense, we are given a gift as we have a few days to pray and reflect in the synagogue during the High Holy Days. We pray along with our fellow congregants and have the time to individually reflect on the past year — what we wish we had done better and how we could have said something differently. Many thoughts go through our minds.
This year let us pledge to strengthen our relationships with family and friends, be receptive to new people we meet along the way and open our hearts and minds to those who experience the world differently than we do. Being thoughtful and compassionate does not take a special skill set. Showing empathy to others is as simple as thinking about how you would feel if presented with a similar situation.
G-d is reflected in each of us, and we can do our small part in repairing the world and sanctifying Hashem’s name each time we choose kindness and goodness as we navigate this situation we call life.
Debbie Diamond is a contributing writer at the Atlanta Jewish Times.