Machers Share Their Resolutions for 2023


What’s in a New Year’s resolution? The cliché is that it’s a shallow promise to better yourself — like by going to the gym more. A promise that you will inevitably break within a month or two. But this cliché can be an exaggeration. Those who do think hard about New Year’s resolutions often go deeper than resolving to make their bodies look better.

Jewish Philadelphia machers, or people who are influential and get things done, certainly go deeper when they think about ways to better themselves in the new year. And if Yom Kippur is a time to reflect on your sins, New Year’s is a less guilt-ridden fresh start.

The machers are thinking of it that way. Here is what they’re telling themselves going into 2023.

Rabbi Sandra Berliner, Congregations of Shaare Shamayim in Northeast Philadelphia:

“I think my personal resolution will be to listen more.”

Rabbi Shelly Barnathan, Or Zarua on the Main Line:

“The first one that comes to mind is for each of us to go inside of ourselves and find the best parts of us that we can lift up and bring to one another and the world.”

Rabbi Nathan Weiner, Congregation Beth Tikvah in Marlton, New Jersey:

“Sometimes, as a Jewish professional your Judaism becomes a professional experience. It needs to be a personal experience. I want it to be that for me as well.”

Rabbi David Cantor (Courtesy of Rabbi David Cantor)

Rabbi David Cantor, Congregation Beth El in Yardley:

“I’d say it would be to remember to be curious in every moment. Whenever something is like, ‘Why on Earth,’ be curious, not furious. If something makes no sense, it’s possible there’s something you don’t know.”

Rabbi Geri Newburge, Main Line Reform Temple-Beth Elohim in Wynnewood:

“Read more; I want to get back into a better routine with my running; and to try not to get too stressed by starting the college search process with my son.”

Jeff Brown, Philadelphia mayoral candidate:

“As I look forward to the new year and reflect on the challenges we face as a city, I’m reminded of our belief in tikkun olam — repair the world. Philadelphia is in desperate need of ‘repair,’ and it will take all of us.”

Rebecca Rhynhart (Courtesy of Rebecca Rhynhart For Mayor)

Rebecca Rhynhart, Philadelphia mayoral candidate:

“In 2023, I will work to help people, lift families up, create opportunity so our city thrives, stand up for what’s right and continue to lead with courage.”

Ben Waxman, state rep-elect from the 182nd district (Center City):

“I think I want to try to contribute to the comeback that Center City and Philadelphia are starting to have. Making Philadelphia feel like a safe place to live and work and play.”

Rue Landau, Philadelphia City Council candidate (at-large):

“My New Year’s resolution is to work very hard using the value of tikkun olam to help heal Philadelphia. We have so many challenges in Philadelphia today — from a gun-violence epidemic to homelessness to poverty — that we all need to work hard to help reverse our status quo.”

Rabbi Ira Budow, director of the Abrams Hebrew Academy in Yardley:

“We’ve been in the process of building a field for our students. We’re hoping that we will get this thing done. It will give the message to the community what type of school we are. Everything’s important to us.”

Rachel Zivic, head of school at the Kellman Brown Academy in Voorhees, New Jersey:

“The holidays focus on bringing light. I think we do that by being there for one another, by supporting our students and teachers and families. By celebrating successes big and small.”

Eytan Graubart, executive director of the Pinemere Camp in Stroudsburg:

“One of the first activities we do (at camp) is based around goal-setting. I thought about leading that activity for 20 years. I have often shared the same goal. Through our work, we’re going to make the world a better place. And I don’t think my resolution should be any different.”

Jared Jackson, founder and executive director of Jews in ALL Hues:

“Working on more self-awareness, self-care and time with my family. If I don’t have those, I can’t be present fully in my work.”

Randi Boyette, senior associate regional director, education, ADL Philadelphia:

“I will look for the people who are actively challenging hate instead of focusing on those that foment it, and I will remind myself that each of us can make a positive difference.”

Alan Scher, CEO of the Kaiserman JCC in Wynnewood:

“The JCC has accomplished a lot over the last year, and much of the credit goes to our tireless, committed and passionate staff. I resolve to practice gratitude, model appreciation and seek every opportunity to thank this most special asset.” JE


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