Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, begins at sundown tonight, Sunday, September 16, 2012.
As we enter the Days of Awe this year and celebrate the new Jewish year of 5773, there is strife all around us. We are living in troubling times.
In the past week alone we have witnessed the senseless murder of a local police officer, and the assassination of a United States ambassador and members of his staff. Our political parties have achieved new lows of incivility during this presidential campaign and we seem to have forgotten how important it is to bridge our differences. But observing the new year in the Jewish tradition gives us the gift of introspection and renewal. It is cause for looking at the world around us as well as in the mirror directly in front of our face.
It is an opportunity for self improvement and a time to set our local community and our nation on a better course. Being mindful of the core tenets of our peoplehood and putting into practice the essential elements of an ethical life will help our world become a better place for all of humanity to live.
The shofar, or ram's horn, is sounded in synagogues throughout the world on Rosh Hashanah as a spiritual wake-up-call. It is a jarring alarm sound that sets us into action. We cannot be callous or lazy as there is much work to be done. Our world is fragile and requires repair. We must seek out a new path. Not only a path of renewal and repentance, but a path in which we pay more attention to our top priorities.
With civil unrest all around us, especially in the delicate region of the Middle East, we must pray to God for peace. We must be unselfish in our prayers and ask for a just and lasting peace for all humanity, regardless of race, religion, creed or political viewpoint.
May this new year be one of peace, health, true joy, grace, and a taste of the world to come.
Rabbi Jason Miller of Farmington Hills is a local educator and entrepreneur who is president of Access Computer Technology and the director of Kosher Michigan, a kosher certification agency, both based in West Bloomfield.