L’ Shanah Tova 5780

Rosh Hashanah Greetings from the YM & YWHA of Washington Heights & Inwood

Recently, I received the most beautiful Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur invitation that I can remember from a good friend, Rabbi Aryeh Bernstein. It was a general invitation, but it really spoke to the heart of this holiday season. The first half of the invitation gave the lineup of the different teachers and rabbis who would be leading the service. But, the second paragraph was all about the participants. He wrote, “More importantly, everyone in the room will teach, support, uplift, and goad each other to wakefulness, to hearing the cries of all anguished people, sentient beings, and the planet, present in the sound of the shofar, to turning to our best selves and the best that our ancestors have bequeathed us, while taking good, hard responsibility for our own transgressions and those of our ancestors in which we are still caught. That is our aspiration. Come join us. Your voice is precious.”

It was that last line that really caught me. “Your voice is precious.” If I could give a universal wish to all the people who come into our agency of every faith and background, this is what I would say.

This is the busiest and often most stressful time of year. New jobs, first days of school, and a huge amount of adjustment are all happening at once. Many people also move at this time of year. In the midst of all the transitions going on in your life and beyond, I wish for you to remember a few things to help keep you moving in the right direction, and this is something that applies to both adults and to children. I invite you to read this to them.

There is no one else in the universe like you. You have a really important duty to be you because no one else is going to do it.
There has never been a better time to be alive than right now. Why, you ask? Because now is the only time you ever truly have. Remember to breath deeply.
Your voice is precious. The human voice is capable of incredible feats of magic and love. You are always invited to lend your voice to that cause.

Have a Wonderful New Year,

By Rabbi Ezra Weinberg, Jewish Life and Enrichment Manager

About the Y
Established in 1917, the YM&YWHA of Washington Heights & Inwood (the Y) is Northern Manhattan’s premier Jewish community center — serving an ethnically and socio-economically diverse constituency — improving the quality of life for people of all ages through critical social services and innovative programs in health, wellness, education, and social justice, while promoting diversity and inclusion, and caring for those in need.

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