Holy Days and Life Cycle
Shana Tova: 7 Things We’re Leaving Behind in 5781 this Rosh Hashanah

Shana Tova: 7 Things We’re Leaving Behind in 5781 this Rosh Hashanah

It’s Rosh Hashanah, a new year! As we bring in 5782, here are some things we can do without.

What a year. 5781 saw two COVID spikes, a new US president, a treasonous terrorist attack on the capitol, Israel at war (and under attack from activists on the left), and a rise in antisemitism worldwide. It’s a volatile, frightening time, and here we are celebrating a new year, again, under inopportune conditions.

Here are 7 things we can do without as the new year begins, 7 being a nice Jewish number in a shmita year.

  1. Them Trumps. Truly. Not a single one. Nor their apologists or enablers. And don’t “both sides” fascism.
  2. Jews defending anti-vaccination.
    There’s no obligation to show up to spread disease at synagogue for the holy days. Knock it off. Get vaccinated (if you’re eligible) or hop on Zoom. I know two years in a row of this. I know! But last year we couldn’t even meet, so let’s take what we can.
  3. Americans against immigration.
    What the fresh hell? If you’re First Nations, you get to be anti-immigration. We have a moral duty to take in refugees and migrants, especially if we caused the problem, like we did in Afghanistan and Latin America.
  1. Jews against immigration in particular.
    Are you serious? You know how you got here, right? And Jews immigrate to Israel now under the same threats we once faced when coming to America.
A beautiful thing I did this week
  1. Antisemitism on the left.
    I have an entire novella to write about this, and I’m new to experiencing it, but it’s real, it’s rabid, and these folks have lost all grasp on history. They unironically embrace the same conspiracy theories that permeate Q-Anon and have led to mass murder of Jews for thousands of years. They also think they’re being helpful as activists by equating Israel and Palestine to Europe and the Americas, intentionally (or not) siding with jihadists who claim Jews were never present in Israel until 1948 and Jews really control the world. Oh, and apparently all Jews are white? Oy. The antisemitism in BLM and other movements is ripe.
  2. Not doing the work to improve your world.
    Your work can look like therapy, volunteering and helping others, tzedakah, studying verified history, and especially this time of year for many, tshuvah. It does not look like hoarding money and voting for anti-tax oligarchs while your neighbors suffer, or acting like antiracism does not affect Jews of European descent. Do the work.
  3. Taking away the right to vote and other infringements.
    Spoiler, but if we go back to white male landowners voting, guess how fast Jews are no longer considered white in America, even those of us who present and identify as such? You may have sensed a theme in this short list, and you were right:

Tikkun Olam means a lot of things, and justice matters. Firmly, now more than ever, Jews can’t be a part of the problem.

More to come on that in 5782. Shana Tova.

This Rosh Hashanah, Let’s Remember the Most Vulnerable Among Us

Judaism has roots in a history of displacement and oppression,
and in challenging those forces wherever they appear.
Read more at Alma