Brenda Gevertz, JPRO Network Executive Director
I am writing on New Year’s Day and from where I sit it is overcast, damp and cold. Hardly a cheery start to the New Year, although perhaps a fitting conclusion to 2015. Good riddance to a violent and turbulent year!
January 1st has always been an ambivalent celebration for me—not that I don’t look forward to a fresh calendar start. It just seems that the tone and cadence of Rosh Hashanah and its correspondence to the start of a new academic and program year always feels more complete and satisfying. Along with January 1st and Rosh Hashanah, Jews have 3 more new years to celebrate: Simchat Torah, the new year for the cycle of Torah readings, Tu B’shevat, the new year for trees and the spring growing season in Israel, and Passover, the first of Nissan, which is the first month of the Hebrew calendar. We being this new year with the retelling of the Passover story with family and friends at Seder. How very fitting that we are now beginning to read the Book of Exodus in the Torah cycle, just as we celebrate the secular New Year. If there is any story that gives us hope it is the story of Exodus with its message of triumph over adversity and liberation.
I suppose that we could readily despair going into 2016. There is already a terrorist attack in Israel, New Year celebrations cancelled out of fear, a most unusual campaign season sullied by prejudice and historic flooding sweeping the Heartland. And yet, when I turn on Facebook, I see parents and grandparents sharing photos of newborns with big eyes and plump cheeks, playful puppies, newly engaged couples embracing and an extraordinary, memorable performance by Aretha Franklin at the Kennedy Center. If you feel the least bit down, click on this show stopper to lift your spirts.
And, as we start this New Year, two friends share their sage advice in this eNews. The incomparable Dr. Erica Brown offers practical recommendations for getting a good start at work and the sage Arthur Sandman takes us through a domestic commentary of the Exodus story. How fortunate we are to offer their encouragement. I will blast out Aretha yet again and give thought to the advice of our contributors. Looking out on the morning rain, I feel so inspired…. Shana Tova, friends—wishing you a Good Year!