What do I, a Jewish secular humanist, make of the high holy days? I haven’t always known how to live these days. What has evolved for me is this: they are a time of meditation and reflection on the year ahead.

This Year, A Campaign

This year I carry out a campaign, with others at my side. The goal: to beat breast cancer. Twelve months from now, I will have had 16 chemo treatments, surgery, and six weeks of radiation. My body will be much changed. My psyche will no doubt also be much changed. I will learn much along the way. Those rallying around and fighting this campaign with me lend strengths and skills I do not have. These will help me to not just survive, but thrive. I feel the utter certainty that our campaign will succeed.

Shimon Aspidorf writes that Rosh Hashana is about love, potential and life.  My engagement in this campaign shapes my thoughts and meditations on the meaning of Rosh Hashana this year.

About Love



The Jewish New Year, Rosh Hashana, is also called the Day of Judgment.

We don’t like to be judged by a boss, a teacher, and certainly not by our peers. At the same time, there is a very beautiful dimension to judgment. ~Shimon Aspidorf

What if, as Aspidorf suggests, we think not of judginess, but of of loving judgement. What would that look like? For the year ahead:

Let me make thoughtful judgments, decisions, and choices that reflect love and compassion for self and others.

Let me guide others in making thoughtful, decisions and choices that reflect love and compassion for self and others.



Each of us has the ability to have an impact on the entire world and each of us is capable of making a world of difference.  ~Shimon Aspidorf

During the year ahead, I ask:

What can I do to live out more of my own potential to make a world of difference?

How can I help others more fully live out their own potential to make a world of difference?

About Life

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May you have a good year, and may you be written in the Book of Life and be sealed for a year of good life and peace. ~ traditional Rosh Hashana greeting.

This greeting, which I have always found beautiful, has a different meaning for me this year, as I consider what the year ahead holds. How can it be a year of good life and peace?

May I have, this year, a life that is “good,” filled with meaning and purpose.

May I find peace in knowing I am living in accordance with the values and beliefs I hold most important.

May I help others live a good life and find peace this year.



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