Rosh Hashanah, the 10 days of teshuvah (repentance) and Yom Kippur — what are we supposed to be doing beyond buying new clothes, planning the holiday menus and buying our synagogue tickets?
We all know that this is a time to reflect, to look deeper at our lives and plan for change. What a challenge and an opportunity!
Each day I get so many posts to read and podcasts to listen to and sometimes it is overwhelming deciding what to attend to. Two items have stuck with me this past week and here they are:
I get a daily post from Seth Godin — mainly business thoughts but it really is about life. This one stuck with me: “I got it!” The secret of the fly ball is that you don’t shout, “You’ve got it.” It’s not up to us to assign who will catch it. If you can catch it, you call it. The thing about responsibility is that it’s most effectively taken, not given. The Jewish value achrayut, responsibility, is so important in our lives and at this time of the year, we all need to “take responsibility” in all we do, from stepping up to help with hurricane victims to small things like picking up the carelessly thrown piece of trash. As you ponder what changes to make in your life this year, think responsibility — what will I step up and take charge of? Promise not to wait — as Godin says, “If you can catch it, you call it!”
The second came from JCCA, our “mothership” of the J. Our early childhood department is so fortunate to be involved in a program called Sheva — a framework of guiding principles and Jewish values. We listened to posts about Rosh Hashanah and this one resonated with me.
Cantor Ellen Dreskin related a common greeting we often hear: “You look great — you haven’t changed a bit.” I have been known to respond with a joke, “Did I look this bad 30 years ago?” But Dreskin turned it around for me — hopefully I haven’t changed too much on the outside (getting old is part of life) but just as hopefully I can say I have changed on the inside. Are those changes noticed by others? Does that matter? This is the opportunity that the High Holidays present — we must look at ourselves and decide what we will change going forward this year.
Great quote from Aesop in his Fables (no, he is not a rabbi): “When all is said and done, more is said than done.” Reflect, decide and DO! Take responsibility for the change in your life.
Shalom … from the Shabbat Lady.
Laura Seymour is director of Camping Services at the Aaron Family Jewish Community Center of Dallas.