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Welcoming Rosh Hashanah and the

Dear Friends,

I just started a new school year, pursuing of my Masters in Jewish Education, and I'm already feeling overwhelmed with all the things I want to get done this year: personally, academically, and professionally. And of course, all my human habits that get in the way of being the productive robot person who can do it all.

Then, a teacher of mine shared this quote from chapter six of Rabbi Alan Lew's This is Real and You Are Completely Unprepared:

"To forgive ourselves, we must be willing to give up our ideas about how we might be better. We need to give up one of our most cherished beliefs--that there is something wrong with us, that we are bad, inadequate, somehow defective and lacking in goodness. Disciplining ourselves, beating ourselves, leads us further away from this goodness, not closer to it."

It reminded me about this teaching from Rabbi Sarah: the Hebrew word for year, shanah, is connected to the verb l'shanot, which means to change, but also to repeat or renew (Hebrew is a great language that way). Rather than focusing on all the things I want to change, here are some things I'm hoping to continue this year:

  1. Being open to new experiences - a new school year, being in lockdown, taking on new leadership roles
  2. Taking breaks when I need them
  3. Embracing mistakes not just as learning opportunities but as a way to connect more deeply with others
  4. Channeling the creative energy I've found during lockdown toward new projects

I hope that you find some time in the coming days to reflect and embrace habits you want to maintain in the new year. If you identify things that you might adjust this year, I hope that alongside setting goals you also remember to show yourself kindness.

Shana Tova u'metuka - best wishes for a good and sweet new year,

Valerie Brown

Community Educator