This weekend, we’ll end 2017 and begin 2018. It’s a time when many of us celebrate, reflect, and make new commitments for the year to come. It feels familiar, and that’s probably because many in our community did that a few months ago, at the end of the Jewish year, when 5777 became 5778.
I’m always a little sad at the end of the Jewish year, to be honest. With the new year, we finish reading the Torah, wind the scrolls back to Bereishit, and start over. It’s rebirth. It’s renewal. It’s wonderful. But also - I love the end of the Torah. We see the newly liberated Jewish people enter the Promised Land, together in community, on the precipice of their future, our future. It’s a moment that feels so optimistic; a destiny is fulfilled. And then, we rewind, we start back at the beginning, and any disappointment I feel dissipates as we rededicate ourselves to the covenants we will make over again.
At the new year, we celebrate the return to the start because we know that the beginning is deeply connected to the end, and that the end is just a step along a greater journey.
To be fair, 2018 feels very Jewish. 18 is meaningful to our community: the word Chai, which means life, is comprised of the 8th and 10th letters of the Hebrew alphabet. When we raise a glass and shout “L’Chaim,” we are toasting to life, when we make a donation in increments of $18, we are celebrating life.
This year has brought so much change to Jewish Community Action. Less than a year ago, Vic announced that he was leaving and the board chose me to replace him. In the time since, we’ve added staff and taken on new campaigns. We brought the power of listening and real conversations to our neighbors with our Deep Canvassing campaign. We marched and protested against a national wave of xenophobia and brutality. We’ve deepened our relationships with other communities and our commitment to a building a movement for resistance and liberation.
And so while we’ve already celebrated the Jewish new year, and while we know there is so much hard work ahead in 2018, this feels like an auspicious moment, a moment to reflect and to celebrate - with you, our members.
L’Chaim - to life, in 2018.