Peace for a New Year

 

We live in remarkable times. Words like “normal,” or “typical” seem to have lost their meaning when we think about what we can expect tomorrow to look like. We crave routine and need the security and assurance it provides us. Yet for the past 6 months we’ve become accustomed to dramatic change and have even learned to adapt somewhat. 

But adaptation comes at a cost too. With adaptation we learn to accept things as they are rather than pursuing change. We resign ourselves to what could be, and settle for what is. Israel, for much of its existence has faced threats, ideological and existential, from its neighbors to multinational organizations. In many ways, Israel has been defined much more by the wars it has fought than the remarkable infrastructural and technological advances of our young state. 

Perhaps that narrative is changing. Yesterday’s events, the promise of peace between Israel and two of its neighbors in the Persian Gulf confirms a value we as Jews have never given up. Hatikvah, The Hope, which we feel today, is the same hope our ancestors grasped for nearly two thousand years. Our hope for a return to our Homeland wasn't satisfied in 1948 nor was it shattered with every war we fought. Yesterday's peace agreement confirms that as Jews our hope, along with our traditions, shared values, and history, sustains us as a people. 

It is for this reason that we engage in fundamental discussions and activities with our students around the topics of Jewish traditions, Peoplehood, and the State of Israel, especially now. We envision our students experiencing positive change, not as observers or bystanders, but as catalysts and pioneers.

The Jewish month of Elul leading up to Rosh Hashana, and Rosh Hashanah itself, is a time that we designate for introspection. It is when we tear ourselves away from habits formed and evaluate who we are, who we’ve become, and who we want to be, as individuals, as a community, and as a nation. May this coming year, 5781 on the Jewish calendar, be a year of hope and positive change, for us as individuals, our families, our community, and our brothers and sisters in our Homeland.