From the Rabbi’s Study: A Time of New Beginnings
By Rabbi Heather Miller
This article first appeared in G’vanim, September/October 2016 issue.
Sing to God a new song! Sing to
God, all the earth!
Shiru L’Adonai shir chadash! Shiru
L’Adonai kol ha’aretz!
If this time of year had a soundtrack, it would definitely be right out of this Psalm! Psalm 96, recited often in prayers, begins with these rousing lyrics calling us, and all those around us, to pursue newness: perhaps a new way of life or newness in the way we appreciate it.
Isn’t this exactly the feeling we have at this season of the New Year? 5777 is here! Rosh Hashanah brings with it the hopes and promises of a brighter future as we turn to make amends for our shortcomings from the past year and vow to hold ourselves to our best in the year to come. This is a great time to check in with yourself and ask yourself those important existential questions: What kind of life have I been leading this past year? What do I want the year to come to look like? How can I best express who I am at my core? How can I connect with others in a way that is truly sacred and meaningful? How can I make a positive difference, big or small, in the world around me?
As you embark on this serious task, remember to be good to yourself. Focus on the future and what you would like to do in the year ahead. Look for new ways you’d like to express who you are as an infinitely valuable ensouled human, and new ways you’d like to interact with all around you. Be brave and challenge yourself to share the wisdom of your experiences, and learn from each other.
One of the things I love most is that Beth Chayim Chadashim is a community of individuals who offer opportunities to do just that. BCC is buzzing with the activity of people sharing experiences, resources, sympathies, celebrations, and learning from our forebears and one another nearly every day of the week. Whether sitting in quiet contemplation during services or learning Torah in one of our classes, whether catching up with friends at an oneg or visiting a member of our community who is ill or celebrating a simcha, plenty of opportunities present themselves for us to be our best selves.
As you consider your year ahead, please remember to consider how BCC figures into your plan. How can BCC help you sing a new song of life this year? After all, “Beth Chayim Chadashim” means “House of New Life.” What kind of new life will you make for yourself in this new year? Will you step up to volunteer more or engage in social action to make a real difference to those around you? Perhaps you will attend services more often to provide yourself with reflection and introspection? Will you help participate in more of our social events to create lasting memories and new friendships? Or perhaps you will deepen your connection to Judaism and others through our educational opportunities?
There are so many ways to enrich your experience as a human being at BCC, and to sing the new song that is uniquely your own. Take full advantage, and we look forward to seeing you around!