Today is Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year and the beginning of what is called in Judaism the High Holidays.
Many of us have received calls, texts and emails from friends and loved ones with the traditional New Year’s greeting, “Shana Tovah,” which translates to "a good year." Rosh Hashanah is followed by ten days known as the Days of Awe, followed by Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement. Yom Kippur is the holiest day in the Jewish calendar.
Religious holidays reflect universal themes found in all the great spiritual traditions. The Days of Awe are a meaningful concept for everyone. They are especially powerful and resonant for Americans now, reminding us to reflect on the deepest truths about our country, reconcile with the God of our understanding, and prepare ourselves for new beginnings.
Americans need to reflect deeply these days, about who we are as a nation and the larger purpose of a free society. We need to think about how we were created, where we’ve gotten it right as a country, where we’ve gotten it wrong, and our responsibility to right what is wrong and pave the way to a better future. We need a spirit of national atonement, in which we reconcile with our deepest principles.
Let's have reverence for those in the past who, with their own struggles, created greater possibilities for all Americans. As citizens of this country now, may we do in our time what they did in theirs.
To all of you, Shana Tovah. May your days ahead be filled with wonder.