With Rosh Hashanah upon us, the year 5778 is in our rearview mirror — but the casualties are not. It was, safe to say, a year of high drama and relentless turmoil.
Puerto Rico devastated by hurricane. The Mueller indictments. The Parkland shooting. Israel’s provocative nation-state law. The summit between North Korea’s Kim Jong Un and President Trump. The government cruelly separating immigrant parents from their children at the border. The conviction of Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort and the guilty plea of the president’s former personal lawyer Michael Cohen.
And, as we go to press, the prospect of a Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, a radical conservative who could take American society back to an age we haven’t known since the gilded age of the robber barons, before Teddy Roosevelt’s trust-busting reforms.
How about a little shelter from the tweetstorm?
To prepare for the Yamim Nora’im — the Days of Awe — we start looking inward. It is not easy work to take an accounting of ourselves and our lives and to embrace teshuvah, often mistranslated as “repentance,” but more accurately translated as “turning.”
Can we truly make amends to those we have wronged? Can we turn our lives around, hard as it may be to dislodge ourselves from routine? Our tradition requires it. And so, we make the effort.
Our Judaism also demands that, once we complete the inner work of the High Holidays, we re-engage with the world.
As Jews and citizens of the planet, we cannot stay on the sidelines knowing that the task of repair remains so woefully unfinished. And so we issue this call to action.
Let 5779 be the year we finally tip the scales and make ours once again a Great Society.
Let us take concrete action to reduce the epidemic of gun violence in this country. Let us dismantle forever any and all governmental edicts that treat immigrants, including the youngest among them, like violent criminals.
Let us bring an end to the administration’s mad unraveling of environmental protections.
Let us work to eradicate the spasm of open racism, sexism and xenophobia running rampant in America and, indeed, throughout the world.
And let us please be done with this toxic notion of “alternative facts,” recently illustrated by Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani, who famously said, “Truth isn’t truth.”
We at J. know that truth is truth, and we are fortunate to have a forum to speak out about it. But the right to speak out belongs to every citizen. And when injustice walks the land, that right becomes an obligation.
We wish our readers and community a Shanah Tovah, a good and a sweet new year.