Elul this year has been a dark and disturbing time. We have been bombarded by troubling and tragic images and news stories from the around the world: hurricanes in the Caribbean and the United States, monsoonal floods across southern Asia, genocide in Myanmar, and the terrifying threat of nuclear war from North Korea. Some days hiding under the covers has seemed like the sanest option. It has hardly been an ideal time to prepare our souls for the deep work of the Days of Awe.
I am drawn to words from Mishkan T’filah: “In a world torn by violence and pain, a world far from wholeness and peace, give us the courage to say, Adonai: There is one God in heaven and earth.” Faith in a better future seems increasingly elusive when so much has happened to make us uneasy. But without faith, without hope, what are we?
And so, on this eve of Rosh Hashanah, we choose to turn towards the year ahead and to embrace it with both joy and courage: Joy: May we all be inscribed for a new year of abundant good health, of peace, and of prosperity. Courage: may our hands and hearts help to make these prayers a reality. Shana tova!
--Rabbi Shoshana Kaminsky