This time of year is filled with beginnings… and endings. For those of us in education, we measure our years from September to June. For those of us who are Jewish, we recognize the start of Rosh Hashanah, the New Year, 5779 according to the Hebrew Calendar which means we say goodbye to 5778. Our New Year starts on the first day of the seventh month of Tishrei. Our summer school vacation seems to come to a quick end by Labor Day as we look forward to fall, despite it being three weeks or so away. Sunblock put away, pumpkin spice ready to roll.
I find that seasons, despite being measured by days and months according to our relationship with the sun, also means the start and stop of things we do in our own relationship with time. Over the past couple of weeks, I came to realize that I tend to lapse. I lapse in many areas. For example, I have been a lapsed blogger, as of late. However, I finally have shown up again and thank you for being patient with me. The summer months make me lazy and yet it is part of my adjusting to more sunlight and like a solar panel, I absorb the light we have had this summer (and the heat) and store it for the days ahead of writing and working and creating.
This is the time of year I also recognize that I have lapsed in the formal relationship with my religion. As the New Year approaches, I re-engage with my cultural and spiritual center through home based traditions of preparing a meal that symbolizes the harvest of our days and the hopes for a sweet year. This process of joining with family and sharing time and food makes me recognize that sense of belonging to a culture that transcends time and history. I was raised in a home that included religious education to understand where “we”as a people, came from and that remembering our forebearers connects us from then to now. That part is firmly imbeded in my heart and head. The formal constraints of attending services, less so. However, if I take what is in my heart and head, and look around at the physical world, in its beauty and in its display of seasons, I also see the connection to all that came before me and all that lies ahead. On these days we celebrate, my FHB and I will spend time outside in nature, in quiet reflection, and that is where we feel close to our religion and spiritual guides. At this point in our life’s journey we are at peace with these moments and renewed to welcome the New Year.
Wishing the students and educators of schools and life, a year of learning and exploration.. As we say as we celebrate Rosh Hashanah, “Shanah Tovah”. May the sweetness of this New Year fill your days and lives.