We’re coming up on the High Holidays and they’re going to be a bit different this year as you might expect. “Different” doesn’t need to be a bad thing. Yes, we will miss gathering together in-person in the Sanctuary and we will miss having our choir, but we have new opportunities this year as well and we’re going to make the most of them.
Our ancestors faced, in their own eras, times of difficulty, some much more extreme, of course, than what we face today. The COVID pandemic has given us but an inkling of what times of plague might have been like with our understanding that the spread of illness is a real threat and a great fear for many of us. For a time, our lives have had to change. We’ve needed to adapt as best we can and do not know when that need will abate. It may be a while yet.
We’re coming up on a Presidential election that may have significant consequences across the spectrum of social issues, economics, and even national security. Presidential elections usually are that, but this one seems a bit more so. That may be because of the candidates involved, our political climate today, or amid ongoing protests and rioting in a number of American cities and in an economy severely impacted by the pandemic. This is a time of concern.
This week it is also a time of hopeful celebration as Israel and the United Arab Emirates normalize diplomatic relations. The excitement in both nations about the possibilities of working together in many ways and of tourism is very high. I don’t know that I have ever seen so many Israelis skeptical of peace prospects be so hopeful. On the last day of August, 2020, the first Israeli flagged plane, an El-Al 737, overflew Saudi Arabian airspace, flying over Riyadh, the Saudi capital, on its way to Abu Dhabi. The landing was greeted with fanfare and the passengers, diplomats and journalists, met with UAE counterparts in lavish surroundings. The events didn’t seem so much like a thaw in relations as they did like the announcement of an engagement. In a year of unhappy news, it is a blessing to have this good news.
Shanah Tovah, may you have a happy, HEALTHY, and sweet New Year!
Rabbi David Kaufman