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5781 Is the Jewish Response to 2020

The Jews have learned through the millennia that to keep the flame of hope alive during dark times, resilience is not a choice but an imperative.
[additional-authors]
September 17, 2020

Dear friends,

It always amazes me that the Jewish calendar is so much older than our secular calendar. In the Jewish world, we seem to take that for granted. We say “Happy 5781!” as easily as we might say “Happy 2021!”

But in this year of turmoil, it’s worth reflecting on the longevity of 5781 to see what it can offer us in 2020.

There are several major themes to the Jewish story: a bond with God and Torah, a search for truth and justice, a calling to bring holiness to the world, among others.

As we confront the multiple crises of 2020, we might focus on another theme: resilience.

How could a people survive the destruction of two Temples, pogroms, centuries of persecution and an unspeakable Holocaust—and yet prepare today to celebrate the Jewish New Year around the world?

The simple answer is that Jews have learned to never give up, to never despair, to never lose hope.

Perhaps the theme of resilience, then, is the result of fulfilling those other themes.

Because we are bonded with God and Torah, because we are motivated to search for truth and justice, and because we are called upon to bring holiness down to earth, what choice do we have but to be resilient?

The Jews have learned through the millennia that to keep the flame of hope alive during dark times, resilience is not a choice but an imperative.

Let us contemplate that thought on Friday night as we gather to celebrate 5781, and let us appreciate the extra 3,760 years of experience that Jews can share with the world.

Shana Tova.

David

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