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January heralds the arrival of the new secular year, 2016! Seems like just yesterday it was the momentous occasion of being the year 2000, as we waited anxiously to see if the paranoia of the much talked about “Y2K bug” would crash computers worldwide as the year rolled over. Thankfully, time marched on without incident at least in the regard of global technology failure! Recently, the latest installment of the ever epic Star Wars saga is again THE “must see” movie and is another reminder that time marches on. It is hard to believe the first Star Wars movie was released way back in 1977, the same year I graduated from high school! As the years pass by, with events both historically and personally, I am increasing aware of the stealthy and constant passage of time. At least for most of us, as the years roll by there is the consolation prize of increased wisdom. And so it is that I have learned to become deeply appreciative of life’s moments, both large and small. At a time of the year when resolutions are in vogue but too often quickly abandoned, it is good to sometimes keep them simple. Have more patience, exercise regularly, eat less sugar (tough one!), be a better friend…et cetera! As Jews, we resolve to be better versions of ourselves at Yom Kippur as we pray to be sealed in the Book of Life for another year. The secular New Year is almost like a reminder to hold fast to those resolutions we made on that day.
The so called New Year for Trees or Tu B’Shevat, also takes place this January beginning the evening of the 24th or the 15th day of Shevat. Trees are easy to pass by and take for granted, yet they clean the air, provide oxygen, cooling shade, homes for animals and so much more. We in fact borrow their name to symbolize “family trees” as we keep track of our genealogy and loved ones both living and passed. A great way to experience the warm fellowship of your “synagogue family” is Shabbat service and special event attendance.
Happy 2016 and see you around. And in the spirit of Star Wars, “May the force be with you!”