Rosh Hashanah—The Jewish New Year

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It is the Judaic belief that on Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, the Almighty decides the destiny of each and every Jew individually, as well as the fate of the nation collectively, for the span of that year.
As such, Jews ask the Almighty to grant them and their loved ones a sweet New Year. One of Rosh Hashanah’s many names is the “Day of Remembrance,” because we use it to process the past year and pray for a new and purposeful upcoming year.

Jews believe that all people are created in the Almighty’s image. We know that humans, unlike animals, have the ability to choose and can thus be held responsible for their actions.
Professor Victor Frankl, the author of Man’s Search for Meaning and the inventor of Logo Therapy, along with Aaron T. Beck, who co-founded Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, believe that we are not defined by what happens to us but rather by how we respond to what happens to us. Our brain was created with a certain plasticity that gives us the power to choose how we feel and how we act.

The essence of the Jewish faith is the belief that through repentance, prayer and charity, one can change his or her fate and sever any harsh decrees. Prayer is at its most powerful when Jews pray together collectively, though solitary prayer is also valued.
Allow me to give some encouragement as we enter the next season of our lives. Never compromise your ideals. Never give in to defeat or despair. Never stop journeying merely because the way is long and hard. Moses did not lose the vision that made him a fighter for justice. He did not become embittered or sad when things did not unfold as he expected. He accepted that there were things he would not live to achieve and proceeded to teach the next generation how to achieve them. His body was old but his mind stayed young. Moses, a mortal, achieved immortality through the legacy of his transmission. He taught us that the good we do lives on and that the blessings we bring into the lives of others never die.

The language of hate is capable of creating enmity between people of different faiths and ethnicities. The most destructive force in history, it is the unmistakable mark of toxic leadership.
The Jewish way is to learn to love and forgive. While we acknowledge the evil men do, we stay focused on the good that is in our power to do. Only thus can we raise the moral compass of mankind and help redeem the world we share.

Within every family, every community and every organization there are trials, tests and tribulations. Strong families and communities have a clear sense of what their ideals are and are not blown off course by the winds of change. Who are we? Where do we stand on the important issues? What are we trying to achieve and what kind of people do we aspire to become? These are the questions Jews strive to ask and answer on Rosh Hashana.

Best wishes for a happy and healthy New Year if you are of the Jewish faith and continued luck in the new fall season if you do not celebrate.
May G-d hear our prayers at the start of the Jewish year 5781 and fulfill our most dearly-held wishes.
L’Shana Tova—to a good year ahead,

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Born in Sde Ya’akov, Israel, Rabbi Moshe Pinchas Weisblum, PhD, is a 14th generation rabbi in his family and currently rabbi at Congregation Beth Tikvah (CBT) in Wantagh. He is a columnist for Massapequa Observer.

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