As we are about to celebrate the new Jewish Year of 5778, I’d like to reflect on a few things. First of all, although I was raised in a Jewish home, we weren’t what’s considered Torah observant. And the laws and customs of Jewish Holidays were taught to me in my teenage years and after that. Zionism was also something I only learned about towards the end of high school. My life today here in Shiloh, Israel, is not quite what my Jewish peers in Great Neck North, Public School 46 or Junior High School 74 are living. As far as I know, not a single solitary former classmate lives in Israel, even though all of those schools had hundreds of Jewish students. Even though I’ve been married and living in Israel for close to half a century, sometimes I feel like everything is new to me.
In just a couple of days the Jewish People will be celebrating a new Jewish Year, 5778. It occurs just as the summer is coming to an end. Every year at this time, we hear how the Kineret aka Sea of Galilee is lower than ever before in history.
|Kineret aka Sea of Galilee at Sunset, mid-winter|
All but the trees and well-watered plants have dried out. We live with fear of wildfires, whether lit by carelessness or Arab terrorists. It’s definitely a time of the year when drought and starvation seem to be our future, Gd forbid. But davka now, when prices of local agriculture is highest, summer fruit and vegetables are hard to find and most expensive, we make great feasts to celebrate a new year.
It reminds me of the fact that we start our new day at night. That is how Gd commands us.
The Jewish Calendar and Jewish Day require a faith in Gd that darkness will become light, and rains will fall. And also to survive uncontrollable personal difficulties and troubles, we all must learn how to see the good, thank Gd and trust that we can and will survive.
With all the imperfections of the State of Israel, when I take a good look and compare today with the past, I see amazing improvements. Actually, it’s good not to be satisfied with today, because that makes us strive to make it all even better. But we must never give up.
May Gd bless us all, individually and as a People in the Jewish Year 5778.