Today is July 23, 2024 /

High Holidays 5785: Letter From Rabbi Arnowitz

Dear WJC Family,

It is a little hard to believe that the High Holidays are once again approaching. In fact, with everything going on at present and all that has occurred since our last High Holiday season there is a feeling of uncertainty that clouds the future. It is challenging to imagine what tomorrow will bring, no less what will be in three months when Rosh HaShanah arrives. And yet imagining a better future has always been central to our faith -imagining it and working towards it. And to achieve those things, even when the world is at its darkest, we have always employed our most powerful tool: Tikvah, Hope.

In his masterwork on the topic, “Choosing Hope: The Heritage of Judaism,” David Arnow gives the following definition of hope:

Hope reflects our embrace of the possibility of a particular, deeply desired future, and hope fuels our actions to help bring it about.

In other words, hope is not the same as optimism or wishful thinking or blind faith. Hope is the ability to imagine a better future, to believe that it is a real possibility (no matter how remote), and to build the path to that reality, step by step, brick by brick. Or as Rabbi Jonathan Sacks z”l put it, “Optimism is the belief that things are going to get better. Hope is the belief that if we work hard enough together, we can make things better. It takes no courage, just a certain naivety to be an optimist. It needs a great deal of courage to have hope.” For thousands of years, hope has been employed again and again to bring the Jewish people from slavery to freedom, from lowliness to might, from homelessness to home. It is no coincidence that the National Anthem of the State of Israel is HaTikvah, The Hope.

We have chosen Tikvah, Hope as the theme for High Holidays 2024/5785, because we have reached yet another time in our people’s history that requires us to imagine a better future and, perhaps even more importantly, to have the courage to bring it about. As we come together this October to reflect on the year that has passed and commit ourselves to a new course for the year to come, we will embrace hope as fully as possible. Reflecting on the past, we will use this sacred time to catalyze our movement to a better future. Gathering as a congregation, we will harness our collective energy to build a better tomorrow, for the Jewish people and for all people.

Enclosed are the early plans for our High Holiday services and the instructions for registering for the various services and programs. Please sign up and join us for a season of reflection, a season of prayer, a season of tzedakah, a season of hope.

With blessings for a brighter future,

 

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