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Welcoming the New Year

September 14

Dear Friends,

As we prepare to welcome 5784, it is time to reflect on the year that has passed and prepare ourselves for the year ahead. We make what is called a cheshbon hanefesh/soulful accounting, a brief memoir of our behavior, our interpersonal accomplishments and failures, our joys, and our mistakes, in order to bring into focus the wisdom we hope to glean from it all.

Jewish tradition teaches that there is always hope. We are led to repair, heal, and move forward. As they say in the tech industry, fail big and fast! Why? Because failure is an invitation to try again to get it right. It’s the quickest way to making progress. This is a very Jewish mindset.

I invite us to keep this in mind as we look at the world right now. Our hearts break when we hear of devastating earthquakes, catastrophic flooding, outrageous violence, tumultuous political challenges in Israel, and an overall perception that things are hard economically for so many — and that’s just this week. It is easy to feel overwhelmed and to lose hope. Fear is a powerful challenger. But on Rosh Hashanah, we begin again. You begin again. There is much we cannot immediately control in the world, but we can control ourselves. Times may be tough, but we can be more generous with our resources: our smile, our attitude of gratitude, our tolerance for difficult people or situations, and our financial resources to address the suffering on our streets. It is in our hands to make a difference to the people before us.

At Mishkon, we inaugurated a year-long celebration of our 75th year on Main Street with music, food, apple crisps and honey, and more than a hundred visitors to take tours, to connect with others from the community, and to appreciate the sparkle of our freshly painted sanctuary. There is a beautiful energy in the community, and I am thrilled to watch Mishkon emerge refreshed as the heimisch, warm, and friendly community that it is.

I look forward to celebrating our Holy Days together, to spending more time together engaging one another, and sharing the responsibility we all feel to help bring a little more light and peace to our world.

Wishing you and all you hold dear a Shanah Tovah u’metukah, a happy, healthy, and ever so sweet new year.

Rabbi Joshua Katzan

Fri, April 12 2024 4 Nisan 5784