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Farewell 2021, Hello 2022

12/29/2021 12:57:04 PM

Dec29

Sarah Avner, Cantorial Soloist

Here we are…just two sleeps away from waking up on January 1st, 2022. Around this time every year I think back to a first-grade memory when I have returned to school after winter break, and I cannot remember to write the new year at the top of my page. I am frustrated by this as I do not enjoy the need to continuously erase and rewrite the year.

This remembrance makes me wonder: will we struggle to forge ahead into 2022 after what 2021 dealt us? Will we accidentally write 2021 or are we excited to send it packing?

As a human I am thankful, that – for reasons I cannot explain – memories of happy times float to the top forcing me to wade through events that make me smile to get to those that either frustrate or make me sad. I also have a daily practice of acknowledging how fortunate I am. Yes, I encounter challenges just like anyone else, but I find this moment of gratitude helps ground me through the hard times.

On those days when I struggle to think of something to be thankful for in my own life I like to turn to words within our liturgy. I especially like this reading from our siddur Mishkan T’fillah (page 257) © 2007 CCAR:

For the expanding grandeur of Creation,

worlds known and unknown, galaxies beyond galaxies,

filling us with awe and challenging our imaginations, 

Modim anachnu lach. (We thank You.)

For this fragile planet earth its times and tides,

its sunsets and seasons, 

Modim anachnu lach.

For the joy of human life, its wonders and surprises,

its hopes and achievements, 

Modim anachnu lach.

For human community, our common past and future hope,

our oneness transcending all separation, our capacity to work

for peace and justice in the midst of hostility and oppression. 

Modim anachnu lach.

For high hopes and noble causes, for faith without fanaticism,

for understanding of views not shared, 

Modim anachnu lach.

For all that have labored and suffered for a fairer world,

who have lived so that others might live in dignity and freedom, 

Modim anachnu lach.

For human liberties and sacred rites:

for opportunities to change and grow, to affirm and choose,

Modim anachnu lach.

We pray that we may live not by our fears but by our hopes, not by our words but by our deeds.

Blessed are You, Adonai, Your Name is Goodness, and You are worthy of thanksgiving.

As we boldly step into 2022 (not “2020 too” as you may have seen as a meme making its way around on social media) I hope that we are all holding at least one memory from 2021 that will cause us pause for a smile and make us mistakenly write 2021, if only for a day. 2021 has taught us that we are strong. We are flexible. We can do hard things and keep on going. Take deep breaths as you honor the challenges and accept them for what they are/were.

Wishing all of us a peaceful New Year and, to quote the prayer in the lines above: “…pray that we may live not by our fears but by our hopes, not by our words but by our deeds.”

Shabbat Shalom

Tue, August 16 2022 19 Av 5782