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A Rosh Hashanah Message for Forest Hills

Words of wisdom for the Jewish New Year.

This year's Rosh Hashanah message is from Rabbi Elizabeth Wood, associate rabbi at the Reform Temple of Forest Hills. You can find them at their website here.

As we celebrate Rosh Hashanah — our Jewish new year — I am so thankful for the moments of reflection that are afforded me at this time of year.

Unlike our secular new year, where we think ahead to the future and our resolutions for what will be, in Judaism we also like to look back and reflect upon all that we did, in the past year.

But Rosh Hashanah and the ten days leading up to Yom Kippur are more than just reflection – they are a chance to think through our actions, our habits, our experiences, and our lives.

Did I live up to my potential this year? Did I cause myself harm? Did I do something to negatively affect my relationships with others?

It’s a great moment to turn inward and take stock of our lives. So often, we go through our year focused on getting things done rather than living fully.

We focus on people, but not always on our relationships with people. We focus on our wants, but not always on our needs.

Now is the time. Now is the time to slow down, to reexamine and to begin to steer our lives back on course.

I love the sound of the Shofar — the ram’s horn — that gets blown, ringing in our new year. The Shofar is also the perfect symbol for ourselves as we enter into this new year.

Its blast reminds us of the call that is living within each of us, waiting to be picked up and heard by others. It starts from a narrow place and we too can feel narrowed by our experiences.

But our sound is heard when we open ourselves up to the possibility on the other end. So we hope and pray that this new year allows us to open up. To be attuned to the call of sacred living in our lives. To not forget the narrow places that we start in and to allow us to expand, to grow, and to make a beautiful melody of our loves.

L’shanah Tovah tikateivu — may you have a sweet and good new year!

Elizabeth Wood

Associate Rabbi,

Reform Temple of Forest Hills

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