Rosh Hashanah Message: Chana Shapiro
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Rosh Hashanah Message: Chana Shapiro

Chana Shapiro shares her thoughts and inspiration for the Jewish New Year.

Chana Shapiro is an educator, writer, editor and illustrator whose work has appeared in journals, newspapers and magazines. She is a regular contributor to the AJT.

Chana Shapiro
Chana Shapiro

Writing One’s Book

I believe that each of us writes our own on-going true story. Actually, the book writes itself. It’s not a journal of random thoughts and select events or a biography telling the story the writer prepares for others to read. This book can be personally useful, though, and the writer is able to learn a lot by referring to past chapters from time to time. Nothing is hidden, and the book’s span covers the writer’s entire life. We can’t erase, undo, delete, cross out, or edit what’s already written, but we are free to start a new chapter at any time. Of course, Rosh Hashanah is an obvious time to start a new chapter.

Our story can’t help but be honest because it records everything. Will new chapters record any changes in intention and action, or do these chapters seem repetitious, one chapter running into the undifferentiated next one?

Judaism provides a user’s manual on how to produce a great story: Live in partnership with G-d and live honorably with people. We all have access to our own story; however, if the book were somehow printed exactly as we’ve written it, what truths about us would it reveal? Would we want our children and grandchildren to read our book? G-d has already read it.

The 10 days between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur are a perfect time to slow down and do a serious review of last year’s chapters. Hopefully, the book we’ve created so far will merit the granting by G-d of another year in which to continue our story. May we all be written in the Book of Life!

Shanah Tova from our family to yours! We wish you a fulfilling and sweet New Year.

Chana Shapiro is a contributing writer for the Atlanta Jewish Times.

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