Much has been written concerning the Jewish calendar and the tapestry of meaning it weaves throughout the year, with the months and their festivals calling us to examine the relationships in our lives, each at the opportune time. We now find ourselves in between Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur, that moment of the year when our relationship with the self is brought to the fore. From the shofar blasts that ring out from the start of Elul, all the way until the end of Yom Kippur, we are urged to shake off the cobwebs of complacency and reset ourselves onto the path of self-actualization. Yet, often we can make resolutions that don’t stick and committing to personal changes that don’t last. There are of course several reasons for these missteps, with many books on how one can create combat.
Two aspects of my life give me the strength to continue on the path of self-improvement at this time of year. The first is living in a country that has shaped itself around the Jewish calendar and its overarching goals. From hearing radio hosts discussing what they felt during the Shofar to listening to two market sellers comparing their slichot service experience, I find myself immersed in a culture that values what this time of year is about. The second comes with my role on Year Course. During the year I have the absolute honor to provide educational experiences for young people who are also on some form of self-discovery. Not only does that journey present opportunities for students to question who they are and what they want to become, but it pushes me to ask myself the same questions.
The dual aspect of living in the Jewish homeland while engaging in a program that compels me to ask and answer the hard questions makes me a better version of me. I hope that by exploring the country and reflecting on the experiences you will have, propels you to become better versions of yourselves. Wishing you all a happy and sweet new year.