Letter to the editor: Happy Rosh Hashana

The Jewish community will celebrate the Jewish New Year on Wednesday, Sept. 20

On Wednesday evening, Sept. 20, the Jewish community will celebrate the Jewish New Year with a holiday called Rosh Hashana. It is the day we traditionally observe as the “birthday” of the world, for on this date our tradition tells us that Adam and Eve, and thus all of mankind, were created.

While the standard celebration for birthdays in our society is usually with parties and revelry, the celebration of Rosh Hashana is somewhat different. It is a day spent in reflection of our accomplishments during the previous year, and a day to recommit to maximizing our potential and utilizing our talents for the betterment of mankind.

Birthdays should be celebrated, but in that celebration we shouldn’t lose sight on what we are doing with the gift we call “life.” Indeed, this idea to periodically reflect on whether we are having a positive impact on our families, communities and the world around us, is not limited to the Jewish community. The celebration of Rosh Hashana is appropriate for every human being.

One of the rituals observed on Rosh Hashana is the blowing of a Shofar, an instrument made from the horn of an animal, most often a Ram. While at first blowing a ram’s horn might seem strange, the significance is more of a call to action — an ancient spiritual alarm clock — to inspire us to wake up from the complacency and laziness that might have set in during the past year. We are all too familiar with the short-lived nature of New Year’s resolutions, and so the Shofar reminds us to recommit ourselves to once again become a better person.

So, in the spirit of Rosh Hashana I hope you will take a moment to ask yourself, “what have I done today to make the world a better place?” We all know that the world can use as much goodness and kindness as it can.

Happy New Year!

Rabbi Avi Richler
Chabad of Gloucester County
Mullica Hill, NJ