Wishing each of you a Shana Tova – a Sweet and Happy New Year.  

May this year see the earth and its inhabitants become healthy again, and may we learn from this experience to become better stewards of the planet. May we walk lightly and do no harm, may we experience awe and love and joy, may we learn to appreciate all the good that we enjoy and the wonders that are available to us.  May we take care to preserve this good for future generations.

Those who grew up in the Conservative movement in the US (and perhaps in other streams of Judaism, and perhaps in other Jewish diaspora communities) will know of the ‘prayer for our country’ that was read each Shabbat.  There was a different one for Israel, but I’ve always preferred this one for Israel AND for everywhere else – and seems to me most opportune for these times:

“Our G-d and G-d of our ancestors: we ask your blessings for our country, for its government, for its leader and advisors, and for all who exercise just and rightful authority. Teach them insights of your Torah, that they may administer all affairs of state fairly, that peace and security, happiness and prosperity, justice and freedom may forever abide in our midst.’ 

Creator of all flesh, bless all inhabitants of our country with your spirit. May citizens of all races and creeds forge a common bond in true harmony to banish all hatred and bigotry and to safeguard the ideals and free institutions which are the pride and glory of our country. 

May this land under your providence be an influence for good throughout the world, uniting all people in peace and freedom and helping them to fulfill the vision of your prophet: ‘Nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they experience war anymore.’ And let us say: Amen.”

So that is what I’ll be zoom-praying for in this New Year.  And of course some personal prayers as well.

I wish each of you and your loved ones health, safety, and freedom. 

Shana Tova,

Happy Rosh Hashanah! Check out the University’s Rosh Hashanah greeting here.