Whither 2018 for the soul?
The new year, be it secular or Jewish, is a time of refection and recollection. Rosh Hashanna is our time to reflect on our sins and the changes we want to make in our souls. I suppose the same can be said about the secular new year but it seems to me that most of the changes we promise to make involved a lower consumption of carbs, fat and sugar so we can win the ‘battle of the bulge.’ Not that this is not important but maybe we should think outside our own bodies.
A new year is a time to assess the direction of our lives, and the secular new year is no different. Included in our self-reflection ought to be some consideration given to our spiritual selves. There is no one definition of what exactly that is so let me offer this: our spiritual self is that part of us that helps us find meaning and purpose in our lives to something bigger than ourselves. That does not necessarily mean God. It can mean need and want. It can be the vast learning of our people. It can be any number of things that exist outside ourselves that can give us meaning.
People sometimes tell me that they don’t worship because they are not built that way, the prayers don’t make them feel anything, or any other number of reasons. Yet, those same people will throw themselves all in to making the temple a spiritual home and a safe Jewish space for everyone. This is their expression of spirituality. Others may find adult education unnecessary and yet immerse themselves in social action causes. This is an act of spirituality. And still others may find the peace of worship, the challenges of learning, and the slinging of hot dogs during the Purim carnival the things that give meaning and direction. Each soul is different and each act of lovingkindness and tzedakah makes a world of difference. If the act of worship is in a sanctuary or making soup or learning midrash or teaching our children, it is an act of sublime holiness.
I encourage you to find your spiritual place at Beth Miriam in 2018. No matter what you do, your efforts become the building block for the future generations and those foundations will create a liberal Judaism that is strong, proud and knowledgeable.