For many people, September is more like the beginning of a new year. School starts, schedules change, vacations begin to slow down, if not end. Indeed, our schedules really seem to change this time of the year.
Therefore, it makes a lot of sense to observe the tradition of New Years, which is celebrated at this time of the year by our Jewish neighbors. While the actual dates of Rosh Hashanah vary due to the lunar calendar, this year the Jewish New Year started this past week (sundown last Wednesday). Why bring this up? Well, first of all, as good neighbors, we should be aware of the important Holy Days for all of our brothers and sisters. Just like knowing that this past year our Muslim friends fasted the entire month of July (actually July 9 to Aug. 7), we should be aware that those who worship in the Jewish tradition (the tradition of Jesus by the way), have just completed New Years and are preparing for the most sacred of all days, Yom Kippur (the Day of Atonement).
The lesson now learned, how does it (should it) affect us in our daily life? The theme of the Jewish New Year is best summed up with these three words: love, potential and life. As many of our schedules change during this time of the year, it is wonderful to focus on these three words.
LOVE - simply another word for God. There is no love greater than God's love. It is a love with no beginning nor end. It is simply always there, for each and every one of us. Perhaps a child this coming week will need to know that simple message as they struggle to pick out the right clothes to wear to school in order to fit in and not be picked on. Perhaps a parent will say, "Don't worry about what you wear on the outside, it is what is inside that matters and know always that God created you and loves you just as you are."
POTENTIAL - As another year begins, we are reminded that we have great potential. No matter our age, no matter our position in life, there always is more that is possible. The message of Rosh Hashanah reminds us that we are called to be more and do more for others. There is someone this week for whom we can do some small act of kindness. When we do these small acts, we help to realize our potential in making ourselves and the world a better place.
LIFE - When the ram's horn is sounded bringing in the New Year, it is a call for all of us to celebrate and to live life to its fullest. God has blessed us with so much. We are given a new year, a new month, another day, hour, minute, second to live our lives to their fullest. A traditional saying for the Jews on this Holy Day is one I think we could learn to say every day to all we meet: "May you have a good year, and may you be written and sealed for a year of good life and peace."
- Weiss is the founder of Caring Outreach Ministries in Williamsport.