Rosh Hashanah Reflections by Chaim Peri
Chaim Peri is Founder, Village Way Educational Initiatives, and Director-Emeritus, Yemin Orde Youth Village
My dear friends, Shalom
May we all be inscribed in the book of life: This year, the traditional wish and blessing bears extra weight and meaning.
It was Rabbi Heschel who taught us to always regard life with awe and wonder, even in the most unsettling circumstances. As we encounter so much fragility in our world - our personal safety; the racial and social divide; political partisanship; the loneliness of social distancing; indeed, if we can only distance ourselves from the immediate, the sense of wonder and clarity will find a way to shine through.
Normally, the togetherness and physical energy of our congregations would elevate us to those heights. This year, we are forced to find a new space to connect.
Leonard Cohen designed a Star of David (left) made of two interlocked hearts, which form an inner space. To me, these hearts represent our two communities on both sides of the ocean, and this inner space can be our meeting place, our sanctuary. A place of inclusiveness, tolerance, and human sensitivity - the haven that we have built together, always thinking of our young generations, always striving towards a better future.
From this unified space, we can look around and marvel at the daily blessings that we have, and at all that we have offered and shared with others. Through our investment in the weakest links of society - rooted in the original Zionist values and educational tradition - we have built assets that are sought after now more than ever.
In response to the challenge of keeping human interaction and closeness, in the face of social distancing and alienation, we are translating the Village Way know how into current school realities. Our extensive network of committed educators, graduates and partners is now mobilized and socially engaged to ensure that the human element of empathy and solidarity continues to be upheld behind screens and masks.
The feedback that we are getting from the most diverse circles of our outreach fills me with hope, inspiration and much Ko'ach for the days to come. I wish so much to share this energy with you and your dear ones, as we welcome 5781.
Wishing you all a Shana Tovah with the blessing of good health and spirit,