Monday, March 19, 2018

We’ve been through a lot together this year.

The pages of The Jewish Link and our online platform have captured our community’s triumphs and, at times, some of its most troubling challenges.

Be it communal responses to a person in need of a kidney transplant or cancer treatments, measures to secure our community during real or contrived anti-Semitic threats, the sting of bigotry’s rhetoric or the overwhelming collective reaction to help fellow Jews facing natural disasters from Florida to Houston to Mexico City, we have recorded it all as honestly as possible.

Our tradition teaches that during these Yomim Noraim, observing the birthday of the world, we pray to Hashem to intervene on behalf of humanity. As we approach Yom Kippur, the davening intensifies as we ask for forgiveness for the errors we have made—the ones we are aware of and, perhaps more importantly, for the ones we are unaware of. We also ask your forgiveness if you are among those we have wronged.

Certainly we need to ask ourselves what we are doing to be part of the teshuva process. Is it enough to pray for those who need help? Are we stepping up personally to help the downtrodden, to provide hope and help for families in need, to encourage our elected officials to act on behalf of world Jewry and the security of Israel?

We ask Hashem for our teshuva to be accepted. But we must also show Hashem that we are willing to go the extra mile for others and to be sensitive, in the coming year, to the needs of others. You will often read in our paper how our children often lead us in these endeavors, and that is a perspective of our community we are very proud of.

If you have not already, please consider a cause you believe in, be it a religious or secular organization, but pick something. Your neighbors need your help, and sometimes they need more than a check. Sometimes they need a meal delivered, or food bought or a wheelchair or clothing delivered. Your community needs your help. Indeed, Israel and the world needs your help.

So, as we journey through the day from Kol Nidrei to Ne’ila and the names of the Book of Life are sealed for another year, may we and our families not only be part of the Book, but may we enrich the lives of others so named as well.

It’s about being proactive. What are you going to do so that your teshuva is evident in your actions?

In recent days, the nation has reacted to the term “taking a knee,” as highly paid athletes decide to disrespect the very flag and anthem that guarantees the freedoms that have led to their fortune. But that is a discussion for another place and time.

For Jews, the real definition of bending a knee comes when, during Yom Kippur Mussaf, we bow all the way down to the floor with respect to Hashem, following the tradition of the kohen gadol. And we do so to give thanks to HaKadosh Baruch Hu.

But we also get up.

And when we figuratively “get up” after Yom Kippur, we must show Hashem that our thanks was more than mere words. It is also service and aid for all.

The Jewish Link family wants to wish you a meaningful, productive Yom Kippur.

G’mar tov.