This evening, September 6, 2021, my wife and I, along with Jews worldwide, will begin celebrating the Jewish New Year – 5782. The month of Elul ends at sundown today, and the month of Tishri begins. The festival lasts two days, ending on Wednesday, September 8. The past couple of days, I’ve enjoyed the smell of freshly-baked bread – round-shaped challahs – set out to cool on our dining room table.
Elul was a month of reflection, a looking back at this past year with a careful review of areas requiring improvement. This closing year has been a difficult one as the world has combatted a pernicious virus that has taken the lives of so many. Hopefully, this year we will see the containment and ultimate defeat of coronavirus.
Wherever you are and in whatever circumstances you find yourself may you have the strength and the wisdom you need. May you be safe and healthy; may your fears be banished. May you have the love you need, and may all your loved ones be shielded, free of all harm. May you grow in wisdom and knowledge.
This past year I became a grandfather for the first time. My daughter gave birth to twins, a girl, and a boy, at the end of November. Before their birth, my daughter asked what I wanted to be called by my grandchildren. I asked to be called Zaida, Yiddish, for grandfather. Though many of my Israeli friends use the Hebrew term for grandfather, I like the Yiddish one. It suits me down to the ground.
Finally, I hope that 5782 ushers in a new caring for the earth, a year in which we come to better know and appreciate the great gift we’ve been given.
I close with the words of the Biblical Priestly Blessing:
HaShem* bless thee, and keep thee; HaShem make His face to shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee; HaShem lift up His countenance upon thee, and give thee peace.[Numbers 6:23–27 (JPS, 1917).
All the best,
*HaShem: “the Name,” a substitute for the Tetragrammaton developed to avoid taking the name of the Lord in vain.