As Rosh Hashanah approaches this evening, I think of my mother, father and grandparents who are no longer alive.
Like my mother before me, I bake her special “Israeli Honey Cake” – with a whole lemon and orange, for a sweet New Year. I set my table with the beautiful festival table cloth she lovingly embroidered. I learn some new text, just as she did, for Torah study was part of the very fabric of her being.
Like my father before me, I craft my sermons and prepare my Machzor – my High Holy Day prayer book. I phone congregants who are sick or in need of a visit, because my father instilled within me the importance of being there for one’s congregants at all times. I read a new book, for reading and studying was an integral part of who he was, even after his eyesight failed due to complications from diabetes.
Like my grandparents before me, I prepare as best as I can for these High Holy Days, trying to touch base with all my family near and far. My grandparents taught me the blessing of family and so much more.
Like all who came before me, I pray that this New Year, 5775 will see a world that realizes a time of peace and harmony. My parents and grandparents strongly believed in tikkun olam – the value of repairing the world. I learned from them that each one of us must do our part to make this world a safe place for all who dwell upon it. We must use our voices, our hands and our hearts. As Abraham Joshua Heschel once said, when we take part in social justice we are “praying with our feet.”
As we prepare to enter 5775, I carry my loved ones in my heart. May they continue to inspire me, to guide me and to do my part to make this world a better place.