pronouns: they, them, their

Looking Back At A Year Like No Other

Jewish Holiday

Rev. Chani Getter

September 18, 2020

A Rosh Hashanah Reflection

As I sit down to write my reflection for the High Holidays, I am contemplating the past year…

It’s been a year filled with dichotomies, clearer skies as we lessen the pollution in some parts of the world while wildfires, hurricanes and floods ravish in others. 

It’s been quite a year…. some of us have lost jobs or our livelihoods, some of us have been sick, far too many of us have we have lost loved ones and had to grapple with how to mourn without community, and we have struggled with how to be there from afar for those who mourn.

It’s been a challenging year…. some of us have lived for months without touch, some of us have lived without a moment of solitude.

Some of us, we have been in isolationwe have felt lonely, we have lived in cramped spaces, we have felt stifled, we have just wanted quiet, and we have all longed for “normalcy”.

It’s been a connecting year, some of us have spoken to those we have not seen in years, we have made time for the people we care about, we have remembered who we are.

It’s been a year of learning… some of have learned how to Zoom, some of us have learned online and learned to teach online, some of us have learned yoga or bake bread, some of us started learning about the racial injustice in our country for the first time, while others are learning what it feels like to finally feel heard.

It’s been a year of such change… It’s been a year that has made the word unprecedented commonplace.

In some ways it’s been a good year, some of us have been hired, some of us have worked harder than we ever knew was possible, some of us have felt safe in our employment. Some of us have regained our health, our strength, our focus, our center.

It was a year of noticing the moments, and the extremes of those moment and trying to more present with all of them… It’s been a year of living differently than we ever have… each in our own way.

One day, I was working from home and the music coming from the living room was too loud for me to ignore, so I walked out prepared to demand quiet. I found my 95-year-old mother-in-law dancing to R&B music with two of our adult children. I laughed so hard.

The world stopped, and I was simply there and began to dance with her.

She had no idea who I was, or who her grandchildren were for that matter. Alzheimers has robbed her of that, and yet there she was simply savoring the moment, the music, the rhythm, and joy of dancing, and teaching us to find the joy in every moment.

As I prepare for the High Holidays this year, one that looks different than anything I have ever experienced, I sit in this moment and give myself permission to feel all of it, to sit with it and notice… to notice where I am called to action and where I am being called to witness… and I pray that I remember to bring the learning of this year into next year. 

I bless us all that we can bring the lessons of slowing down, of reaching out, of gratitude that this past year has taught us into the 5781, and that we can let go of some of the sorrow, fear and uncertainty we’ve been living with, and allow the New Year to bring us hope.  

Shana Tova (Modern Hebrew)

K’siva v’chasima tova (Biblical Hebrew)

A git gebenchta yur (Yiddish)

Happy Jewish New Year


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