By Rhoda Smolow,
This is a sacred time of year. The Hebrew month of Elul marks a time of deep personal introspection. Yet even the sacred has its own shorthand, including the three Rs of Rosh Hashanah. Like so much in our rich, diverse Jewish tradition, even these are up for multiple interpretations. For some, the three Rs stand for Review, Repent and Repair. For me, the three Rs are Reflect, Recommit and Renew.
The spirit of teshuvah, meaning both repentance and return, guides our individual journeys as we reflect on our actions, weighing where we must change and what we’ll sustain. This reflection forms the foundation for a fresh start, for ourselves and our souls.
At Hadassah, to be sure, we have many perspectives. On politics, on what kind of honey tastes best with a round challah and, yes, on Israel. Yet we cannot let divides around Israel stand in the way of the crucial work Hadassah does. In the moments when debates around Israel’s future have reached a fever pitch, this is clearer to me than ever, especially as I hear and share stories like Talia Bazak’s, who as a toddler fought leukemia at Hadassah Hospital Ein Kerem, returning as an adult this year, after a difficult journey, to deliver her first child.
As we face a new year, I hope that you’ll join me in recommitting to Hadassah’s mission, especially the part about inspiring “a passion for and commitment to the land, the people and the future of Israel.” Our founder, Henrietta Szold, was the first to admit that at times this requires both courage and unflinching purpose.
We owe our impact, especially in Israel, to the fact that, together at Hadassah, we transcend politics and divides. Israel needs us, and we need Israel! Our patients need us. The children in our Youth Aliyah villages need us. Our communities need us. And the world needs us.
This Rosh Hashanah, as people around the world consider their lives, their communities and Israel, I hope you’ll reflect on how you’ll make a difference in the new year. Hadassah hope and healing are a powerful force we can harness as we begin anew in 5784. Wishing you resolve, another R, along with much sweetness this Rosh Hashanah. Shanah tovah u’metukah!