Community Reflections for the New Year

The High Holidays are approaching, and with them comes a time of reflection as we enter the new year. Each Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur, members of our community have the opportunity to give d’vars that connect topics of personal interest or expertise to their own new year’s thoughts, wishes, or calls to action for the broader Boston Workmen’s Circle community. The topics can be as varied as Israel/Palestine, feminism or a death in the speaker’s family – each an example of individual meditation that, when taken together, form a portrait of the wonderfully varied fabric of our community.

You can read a few excerpts of d’vars from recent years below. Full text of the below d’vars, as well as other d’vars from past years, is available here.

From Rosa Blumenfeld, 2009:
At Rosh Hashanah it is important to remember the past and those who came before us. It
is also important is to look to the future and think about the legacies that we are responsible for carrying out. A legacy can be a heavy burden, but it is also a special responsibility, honor and privilege. I am proud to be my father’s daughter and I carry out his legacy by working as an Organizer in the labor movement, and participating in the Workmen’s Circle. Especially over the past year, I have thought about my actions as measured up to his standards. It is a heavy test to take, but I hope that I have passed. I hope that this would have made my father proud of me.

From Mike Felsen, 2007:
Our work in coalition-building, during and after the end of the mosque disputes, has just now borne large fruit: a few days ago we rolled out, in time for Rosh Hashanah and the first day of Ramadan, a joint Jewish-Muslim public statement called Building a Community of Trust. Crafted together by a committee of Jews and Muslims, it’s a statement that embraces the diversity of our community, affirms our common humanity, and expressly supports dialogue and a commitment to address disagreements and community concerns in ways that promote reconciliation rather than conflict. It’s signed by Muslim leaders of every prominent local Muslim institution, and is being sent to every area mosque. On the Jewish side, things weren’t quite so smooth. Resistance to the statement was brought to bear; a story about the statement in yesterday’s Globe notes the David Project’s opposition to it. Despite the opposition, the Mass Board of Rabbis has endorsed it, along with a number of lay leaders of the big mainstream organizations, and us. So, in many ways the work is just beginning.

From Paul Saba, 2004:
In an America dominated by war and the fear of terrorism on the one hand, and greed and indifference to the plight of the poor on the other, our responsibility seems clear to me. We can and should continue to play the critical role pioneered by the WC over a hundred years ago as champions of the struggle for justice, compassion and human freedom. I am guessing that this legacy is what drew so many of us to the WC and keeps us coming here, year after year.

Our Rosh Hashana observance this year will be held on September 17 from 10am-noon, with a family service from 1:30-2:30 pm. Full details are here.

Yom Kippur observance will be held on September 26 from 10am-noon. Full details are here.