Adults, especially those of us who are parents, have many…many responsibilities. This is why people often say that "adulting" is no joke. It takes smarts, charisma, a good attitude, a solid work ethic, strong commitment, and determination. As a parent, this goes even further when you bring in the idea of modeling and teaching children how to live, grow, thrive, succeed, and excel in life. As Jews, one of the quintessential times for this modeling occurs as we head into the High Holy Days.
You see, during this time, the month of Elul, our tradition teaches us to reflect on our past year and consider what we could have done better and how in the year to come we want to live better. This personal reflection can be challenging as we must be critical of our actions and deeds and how we treat family, friends, and ourselves. We are often quick to judge other people and question why they do certain things, but why do we have such a hard time questioning ourselves and holding ourselves accountable for our deeds? And more specifically, do we feel comfortable justifying our actions, even when we know they are incorrect?
Well, these next several days are a perfect time to look at ourselves and be critical and honest about whether, in the year that we are about to complete, we were the best versions of ourselves or could we have done better. And, in the coming year, what steps will we take to improve?
As the Executive Director of the Jewish Federation of the Greater San Gabriel and Pomona Valleys, I think about this a lot about the organization. My daily goal is for my staff and I to strengthen and enhance Jewish life in our community. After all, this is the mission of our organization. But what does that mean? It means focusing not only on creating opportunities for people to connect and feel a part of our local Jewish community but also help people feel safe and welcome to express their personal feeling of Judaism. Sometimes, we do this very well; other times, I believe we could do better.
In some ways, this is a pivotal year for our Jewish Federation. As I hope you are aware, we are celebrating our 30th anniversary. Our Board, staff and I have been spending quite a bit of time recently looking at how we do what we do and trying to figure out how we can do it more effectively and make what we do more relevant and impactful. While we reflect on where the organization has been during the last 30 years, we hope this work will propel us forward into the next 30 years. In other words, how can we be a better version of the organization we are today?
On behalf of myself, my staff, and our Jewish Federation's Board of Governors, may the end of 5783 be insightful and meaningful as we head into 5784… a year full of opportunities and promise. Shana Tova!