2013-09-04 / Editorial

Let us strive to make 5774 a good year at home and abroad

A new Jewish year is upon us. 5774 dawns with hope, promise, and the knowledge that although we are not in control of events, we are in control of what we make of the events in store for us. Whether the threat is a giant unforeseen storm battering the New Jersey coast, violence and upheaval in the Middle East, or crushing poverty for the Jews of the Former Soviet Union, we can rally to aid both our Jewish brethren and the world at large.

There is an old joke, said to be about two Jews, in which one Jew sends a telegram to another: “Start worrying. Details to follow.” While mildly amusing, it is at its core inaccurate. Jewish nature is not one of pessimism. We are truly an optimistic people. How else to explain the fact that through persecution and unimaginable difficulties, we have not lost our faith in God or ourselves.

We believe, with God’s help, that tomorrow will be better. A future in which the homeless have shelter, the hungry have food, and the downtrodden are uplifted is within our grasp.

In the High Holiday liturgy, we pray that although we have fallen short, teshuvah (repentance), tefillah (prayer), and tzedakah (charity) afford us the opportunity to be better people in the year to come. Our tradition provides us the inspiration to build a better society. It is now up to us to make that inspiration a reality.

Our sages maintained that the era of prophecy ended many centuries ago. There are no longer Samuels and Elijahs who can tell us what God has in store for us. We can’t tell what 5774 will bring. What we make of it, however, is in our own hands.

L’Shanah Tovah U’Mitukah! A good and sweet 5774! .

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