The period of the High Holy Days is a time of introspection and meditation. While we Jews do not necessarily make New Year resolutions, it is helpful to stand back to see how we have done this past year as we challenge ourselves to improve in the coming year.
From the point of the work of the American Zionist Movement we need to ask ourselves the following questions: Have we strengthened our bond to Zion, to the State of Israel, to the Jewish people around the world this past year? Have we taken upon ourselves the responsibility to learn Hebrew, the language of our heritage and our people? Have we been ambassadors for the State of Israel in the communities in which we live and in the organizations we populate? No matter what our politics, Israel needs good ambassadors. Have we reached out to our brothers and sisters in the State of Israel and around the world, showing our love for the people of Israel wherever they may be? Have we visited Israel this past year?
In all of these areas I am sure that even if we can answer in the affirmative, we can always make improvements. The role of AZM is to assist in implementing these challenges in our lives, in the lives of our institutions, organizations and communities. Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur impress upon us the fact that we can always do better. The New Year is a new beginning: “Hayom Harat Olam – Today the world stands as at birth.” Each of us is given a new opportunity as the New Year commences. I hope we take advantage of it.
I ask you to challenge yourselves on these matters and work together with AZM to create a bond between Jews living in the Diaspora and Jews living in the State of Israel. We are ultimately one people with one past and one common future.
I pray that as we hear the sounds of the shofar this Rosh Hashanah that it may herald a time of peace and tranquility for our land, for the State of Israel, for the Jewish people and for all humanity. My best personal wishes to you and yours for a happy, healthy, and fulfilling 5774. Shana tova
Rabbi Vernon Kurtz