NPI's Cascadia Advocate

Offering commentary and analysis from Washington, Oregon, and Idaho, The Cascadia Advocate is the Northwest Progressive Institute's uplifting perspective on world, national, and local politics.

Sunday, September 29th, 2019

It’s Rosh Hashanah 5780! Shanah tovah (שנה טובה) from the team at NPI

If you are observ­ing Rosh Hashanah, the Jew­ish New Year, which began this evening at night­fall, please accept best wish­es from all of us at the North­west Pro­gres­sive Insti­tute. We hope the new year is a sweet one for you!

slgckgc Blowing The Shofar on Rosh Hashanah

Blow­ing The Sho­far on Rosh Hashanah (Pho­to:
slgck­gc, repro­duced under a Cre­ative Com­mons license)

Rosh Hashanah (mean­ing the head of the year) is one of the most impor­tant Jew­ish hol­i­days. It’s the first of what are known as the Jew­ish High Holy Days that take place in autumn. The com­mand­ment of cel­e­bra­tion for this occa­sion can be found in the Book of Leviti­cus — specif­i­cal­ly Leviti­cus 23:23–25 (Eng­lish text):

The Fes­ti­val of Trumpets

The Lord spoke to Moses, say­ing: Speak to the peo­ple of Israel, say­ing: In the sev­enth month, on the first day of the month, you shall observe a day of com­plete rest, a holy con­vo­ca­tion com­mem­o­rat­ed with trum­pet blasts. You shall not work at your occu­pa­tions; and you shall present the Lord’s offer­ing by fire.

Read­ers inter­est­ed in Rosh Hashanah-themed Torah reflec­tions may want to read Rab­bi Eric Weiss’ 2014 com­men­tary on the Jew­ish New Year. Weiss is the Pres­i­dent & CEO of the Bay Area Jew­ish Heal­ing Cen­ter. Rab­bi Weiss was ordained in 1989; he is a grad­u­ate of the Uni­ver­si­ty of Cal­i­for­nia at San­ta Cruz where he received a B.A. in Biol­o­gy and Juda­ic Stud­ies. Here’s a snip­pet from his reflec­tions:

It is tru­ly the ways we explore the ter­rain of our spir­it that bring us the nour­ish­ment, even in the midst of phys­i­cal lim­its, that allows us to move beyond the con­fines of our body.

A dis­eased cell can­not pre­vent pray­ing, a defec­tive heart pump­ing can­not pre­vent feel­ing your spir­it flut­ter, and a com­pro­mised organ can­not pre­vent your soul from explor­ing inner terrain.

The Jew­ish hol­i­day cycle is set. No mat­ter how you feel, the var­i­ous hol­i­days come and go. This New Year may not be what you want for your self or oth­ers. But here it is. It is not a mat­ter of mak­ing the best of it. It is a mat­ter of doing what you can with it.

Even the seem­ing­ly small­est amount of spir­i­tu­al reflec­tion is good enough. After all, what is an insight but a quick yet clar­i­fy­ing moment that leaves a last­ing mark.

Rosh Hashanah reads:

Again, Shanah tovah!

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