It is an intrinsic element of Judaism to approach the beginning of a New Year with introspection. During the Days of Awe, we look at ourselves and ponder what we did over the past year. It is just as necessary to perform the same act of self-examination as a community.
In conducting our communal cheshbon nefesh — or spiritual accounting of our lives — we must continue to embrace the Jewish future. How do we do that?
Here at home, we must remember our obligation to help those members of our community who are in need. As the economy falters, the numbers of those requiring assistance, often the elderly and those least able to help themselves, will grow.
Over the course of the coming year, we must also rededicate ourselves to the vital task of promoting Jewish education at all levels. That means that as a community, we must continue to work to improve access to day schools, which remain not only the most comprehensive option for Jewish education but the best investment for our future. At the same time, we must continue to increase our support for youth trips to Israel, Jewish camps and synagogue Hebrew schools, which remain the choice of most Jewish families when it comes to educational concerns.
At the same time, it is equally important that we continue to fight for the State of Israel as it struggles to maintain itself in a sea of Arab hate and world indifference. Hostility to Israel in the form of a growing anti-Zionist movement, both abroad and even right here in the United States, has shocked many Jews, as Israel-bashing walks hand in hand with anti-Semitism.
May we all be inscribed for good in this coming year, and may we all find within ourselves the commitment to ensure that the sparks of Jewish life continue to burn brightly. Each of us has the power to shape and change the course of Jewish history for the better. Let's not waste another moment before committing ourselves to doing so.
From the publishers and staff of the Jewish Exponent to all of our readers and their families, may 5769 be a year of peace, health and happiness.
L'Shanah Tovah Tikatevu!