"How many times have you said or heard the phrase, Shanah Tovah? Even if you limit your response to this holiday season alone, I bet it's dozens, if not hundreds, of times, and if you think about a lifetime of use, we are probably getting into the thousands. That's a lot of good wishes — both received and offered. But what are we really wishing each other with those two little words?..."
"...My mother went home and gathered every scrap of fabric she could find, an old set of acrylics, and a glue gun. Every day, I worked feverishly in my hospital bed, gluing, painting, and letting my imagination set me free. Every day I would create a new work of art, a new source of hope, and display it outside my hospital room. Soon, nurses and even mobile patients would stroll by my room to see what I had created...."
"...I realize that it is the rare gift to be told, and then reminded, to share words of gratitude with the people closest to us, or even with the people not so close but who have impacted us throughout the years. As we are quickly heading into the High Holy Day Season, may we wake up and realize that we don't usually know when the end will be near, so it is important to share our thoughts and reflections with those who matter most, and we should not wait...."
"I've got a friend (let's call him Gary) whose father passed away recently. When I spoke with him a few days after the funeral Gary seemed ashamed that he hadn't cried. It's not just that Gary's been acculturated –as have most men – to be stoical; it was something else. He told me he was angry with his father for never having done one very important, one very simple thing; Gary's father never once told him that he was proud of him...."
How a new understanding of two old words, could not only bring you greater happiness, but also help heal our fractured world.
After the bombing in New York City last weekend, Rabbi Brad Hirschfield, says that "when we address real threats with polarizing political rhetoric, none of us are safer." View Rabbi Hirschfield's discussion below.
From Odyssey Networks’ FAITH ON THE RECORD
"Last night, I watched as a close friend of mine, a dynamite warrior woman of Korean descent, sang and prayed in her ancestral tongue for close to twenty minutes in front of an altar bearing fruit and burning incense.
"...My point to my daughter, and to anyone else who has been asking me my thoughts today, is that there are real dangers in this world, in our nation, and on the streets of my own city. They are real, they draw inspiration from particular places and systems of belief, and we cannot afford to shy away from any of that if we hope to successfully address those dangers. But that is only part of the story, and certainly not more than half of it.
"...But, the National Anthem is not a loyalty pledge, it is liturgy. It is a national, civic ‘prayer.’ Liturgy expresses values and ideals and provides a common language of connection. Liturgy can be at once descriptive and aspirational. And liturgy carries with it multiple meanings and can mean different things to different people. Our engagement with it must be dynamic and nuanced...."
"...On Rosh Hashanah, tradition says, we stand before the Creator of All Who regards us in judgment. The liturgy for that day teaches that the book of our lives reads from itself: the book of our choices and our actions over the last year, signed by our own hand. No matter how much inner work I do over the coming weeks, there's no way I can really be ready to stand before God and face full awareness of everywhere I've fallen short...."