January 2022 Keeping Connected
Next week will be the beginning of 2022. Personally, I am ready for a new year and I am grateful that as Jews we have Rosh Hashanah and the secular New Year. To have multiple times of year in which we are encouraged to make change and set a new course feels like a blessing. Inertia makes it hard to break from the ingrained patterns and beliefs that guide our daily lives and the ability to step back and focus in on what matters most to us and to review our sense of purpose, is an important and at times profound opportunity. I know that one can engage in this type of process at any time, but it does seem easier to have a time demarcation to formally say good-bye to the past and to embrace a new beginning. It also helps to know that your entire community is involved in the same process at the same time.
So what do you want your new year to look and feel like? I think all of us look forward to a year that will feel less encumbered by the pandemic. There are also the typical New Year’s resolutions of getting in better shape, losing weight and cleaning up our diets. Some of us might be thinking about climate change; reflecting on personal behaviors that we can and should change. Some of us may have goals about our relationships and some of us may be hoping to find a way to nurture our own spirits more.
Amongst the many goals and hopes you may have, I would like to throw into the mix the opportunity that 2022 might be a year in which you can strengthen your connection with Judaism and the Jewish community. There is a passage in the Mishnah that teaches, “One mitzvah leads to another,” and thinking about things in this light can be more freeing. This does not need to be the year when you come to services every week, join three committees and read 10 books. But, it can be a year when you set one or two Jewish goals for yourself and in doing so, you might find a greater sense of connection to community, be intellectually challenged and feel a deeper sense of spiritual meaning. I invite you to take some time for Jewish reflection. What is something you might want to try? Perhaps coming to Torah study once a month for one hour, might provide an meaningful point of connection. You don’t need to know anything specific or have any particular prior experiences. If you just want to learn a little, have a great conversation and feel a sense of community, Torah study is a wonderful opportunity. Perhaps the right choice for you would be to do something that marks the sabbath each week. Doing so might help you to destress and feel calmer each week and it may provide a meaningful routine to life. Maybe you might want to get involved in one activity or program at the synagogue. Doing so can lead to new friendships and a sense of purpose. If my invitation has sparked any kind of interest, but you are not sure what might be a good fit for you in 2022, please do not hesitate to write or call me. I would love to have a conversation with you about what might be a meaningful path for you to explore.
Warm regards and may 2022 bring us renewed health and hope,
Rabbi Shoshana M. Perry