The pattern in the tapestry.
On a personal level, we are all doing that too – weighing our behaviour and relationships, our hardships and victories, our challenges and successes. Being Jewish comes with a lot of accountability.
Improving and striving for perfection is a driving force of Rosh Hashanah and of our very existence. It’s a most basic need within ourselves to make life a little better, says Simon Jacobson in his book, “Toward a Meaningful Life – The Wisdom of the Rebbe Menachem Mendel Schneerson”.
“We have created new political and economic systems, we have pursued education and enlightenment, we have developed industry and enterprise – all in search of a more perfect society.”
He says: “We live in a world that is imperfect and yet we search for perfection. We live a life full of pain and difficulty and yet we strive for peace and harmony.” This striving is indeed the fuel that keeps our metaphorical motors going.
Any successful entrepreneur will tell you that if he or she does not keep improving their product or service, his business is likely to falter. So too, the board of directors of the Jewish Report, most of them successful entrepreneurs, remind us that we have to keep making the paper better.
In this issue we ask a group of innovators and leaders in our community what their New Year goals are, both personally and professionally, in their quest for better selves and a better society.
Several articles deal with both the spiritual goals and the customs of Rosh Hashanah. We hear a Yomtov message from Chief Rabbi Warren Goldstein as well as an article from Sydenham’s Rabbi Yossy Goldman about the frenzy that occurs just before Yomtov which goes beyond the preparations of a great meal, to that of really finding ourselves and assessing where we are in the journey of life.
There are some great new recipes from Stan and Pete, which any good balabusta could consider for her Rosh Hashanah meal. Our regular contributor, David Saks, tells what some of the smaller Jewish communities in outlying areas like Oudtshoorn and Kimberley are doing to hold services when their own numbers are not sufficiently high.
On the subject of relationships, Shira Druion writes about the difficulties Jewish women may face in trying to get an orthodox divorce or a “get” and we also hear about the results of the Chevrah Kedishah’s marriage survey.
Our news includes the building dedication for the Johannesburg Holocaust and Genocide Centre which was this week. This centre will be the first museum to open in Johannesburg in many years. Also interesting was a trip and conference in Israel for African church leaders last week, facilitated by the SA Zionist Federation. The African leaders met with Jerusalem’s Mayor Nir Barkat, travelled the country and forged important new relationships with counterparts in Israel.
Yes, much of our news is about people trying to create a better world, a better year, a better life for others and a better life for themselves. And, of course, it is about how we can have a more delicious, but more importantly, a more meaningful Rosh Hashanah.
So too, dear readers, we are also going to strive for perfection and although we may not reach it, we are determined to be producing an even better Jewish Report in 5776.
Shanah tovah Umetukah