Rosh Hashanah – The Birthday of Humanity
Tonight, with the sun’s setting, a new Jewish Year will be born. While we tell our children it is the birthday of the world, it is really a celebration of the birthday of humanity. Rosh Hanashanah celebrates the day on which the first human beings were created in the first chapter of Genesis.
Jewish tradition teaches that we were all created from one person so that none could say, “My ancestor is greater than yours.”
Jewish tradition teaches that we were created “from the four corners of the earth – yellow clay and white sand, black loam and red soil — so that the earth can declare to no part of humanity that it does not belong here, that this soil is not its rightful home.”
Jewish tradition teaches us not to mark the new year with champagne in hand but with prayer books in hand and self-reckoning on our minds.
Jewish tradition calls us to ask ourselves: Who are we? Have we lived up to our human and God-given potential? How are we caring for the earth which we have been given? How are we celebrating and supporting all of humanity?
On this Jewish New Year, please take this day to do something to celebrate humanity with an act of kindness for a stranger, with a call to someone who is struggling, with an act that brings greater justice to our world, or with a donation that heals.
L’shanah tovah – may it be a good year.
The video called “A New Year: Artists Across the World Celebrate 5779” from New York’s 92 Street Y reminds us of our global interconnectedness:
[The photo above is by Aziz Acharki.]