The New Synagogue of Long Island
The Synagogue for Spiritual Judaism

Happy Birthday To US!


The festival of Rosh HaShanah is observed on the 1st day of the Hebrew month of Tishrei (this year corresponding to September 10th). In Hebrew, Rosh HaShanah means, literally, "Head of the Year," and, as its name indicates, it is the beginning of the new Jewish year, 5779. Rosh HaShanah is not just a Jewish holiday. Rosh HaShanah is the birthday of humankind, the anniversary of the creation of Adam and Eve, highlighting the special relationship between God and humanity.


This is the day when we were given the mandate to change the world. The day when G‑d entrusted us with the mission to change a world that is hostile to spirituality and transform it into G‑d's private sanctum. And in accomplishing this goal, you, too, were given the ability to achieve incredible spiritual heights - heights unimaginable to the soul before it was dispatched from its lofty heavenly home to inhabit a physical body.


The period between Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur is called the Ten Days of Repentance, or in Hebrew the Asseret Yimei Teshuva. One of the ongoing themes of the Ten Days is the concept that God has a “Book” that He writes our names in, thus deciding our fate for the next year. “The Book” is opened on Rosh HaShanah and sealed on Yom Kippur.


Rosh HaShanah is the time to recognize that we have only one life and need to make each day count. It is a time to look at our values; to think about the way we treat ourselves and others; to become aware of our daily interactions.


Have we become more connected to our iPhones than to the people in our life who need us most? Have we forgotten that we are G-od’s partner every day in the creation of love, acceptance, tolerance, peace, and joy?

Use this time to make positive changes in your life. Transforming oneself can be most difficult and challenging. We change because we want to grow; other times we don’t really want to change but we recognize that we must; and sometimes G-d just takes over and change “happens.” If we embrace change, we have the ability to rejuvenate ourselves and create the life that G-d has “written” for us. A spiritual makeover keeps us moving forward. Stagnation leads to depression of the soul.


Think of the High Holidays as days of reconciliation between us and G-d. Take a few moments and make a decision that will transform your life. Embrace your ability to change. Choose a kindness a day, one less hurtful response, one more smile when you feel depleted and want to scream, one more mitzvah (good deed) that stretches your heart and soul. Think big and create a passionate vision of who you want to be this coming year. If we are serious about making this world better, the place to begin is within ourselves.


On Rosh HaShanah we say, “Shanah Tovah” - Happy New Year

On Yom Kippur we say, “G’mar Chatimah Tovah” - May you be inscribed and sealed for a good year

 

Wishing all of us “Shanah Tovah - G’mar Chatimah Tovah”

Rabbi Stuart A. Paris, HaKohen




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Torah Completion and Celebration

Sunday, May 15, 2016

7 Iyar, 5776

Rabbi Stuart Paris and Rabbi Gedaliah Druin

Rabbi Gedaliah Druin completing the last letter of the Torah