Reflections on the New Year

Judaism has many new years, as do our secular lives. The Jewish New Year of Rosh Hashanah comes just as classes are beginning again. The fresh start of the semester, and of the fall season, also harkens a fresh start for our lives. This is a new year in which we see ourselves and our actions more clearly, and in which we have the energy to start again, to renew our efforts in the endlessly inventive project of living well.

This Rosh Hashanah, we are embracing a new machzor, the Hebrew word for the High Holiday prayer book that guides us through the wilderness journey of reflection, repentance, and renewal that Jews embark on during the High Holidays. Thanks to the generosity of the Silton family, who established a fund to “support the annual observance of the High Holidays,” we were able to purchase books for Middlebury’s Jewish community. Lev Shalem is an elegant book: the central liturgy of the holidays is surrounded with margins of poetry, Hasidic stories, and reflections on the process of returning to our truer selves. We hope this book, with its combination of powerful traditional liturgy and a plurality of perspectives on the themes of the holidays, will itself bring a renewed energy to how we experience this sacred time in the year. So too, the stories of people contained within this issue of Hillel HaYom suggest an inventive, new way of approaching the chosen passions, work, or callings of each one.

As you each embrace this season, may you feel the sense of newness in the air of autumn, and in the renewal of your own thoughts and actions toward a life full of love and meaning.

L’shanah tovah,
Rabbi Danielle

Charles P. Scott Center for Spiritual and Religious Life
46 South Street
Middlebury, VT 05753