Let's explore how to live at our Highest potential.
As we speak, pause and listen to the words we choose.
As we interact, let's empathize with the one who is before us.
As we go about our day, consider what you can do to let someone know they matter,
At this time of the Jewish new year, Rosh Hashanah, I feel very contemplative.
While the seasons change, I too am aware of the fragile nature of life cycles.
Our tradition shows us that between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, we're guided to reflect more deeply on our own behavior.
In every community, there are those who are hungry.
We may have senior family members who are alone and would love a phone call.
We may know a neighbor or colleague who needs support.
Please be aware that any outreach that you do can go a long way in keeping someone healthy, happy and even alive.
My Congregation Hakafa distributes empty grocery bags, and we bring them filled with nonperishable food on Yom Kippur, to give to the local food pantry.
Our food drive provides one of the biggest donations in the year.
That gesture motivated my husband to give regularly to that food pantry.
What can you do?
One of our congregants spoke about adopting two children from South Korea.
How meaningful it was -- even while facing prejudice and discrimination as the children grew up. We may know of children or adults who need help.
What can you do?
Last weekend, as I walked into the local Jewel to buy food for our family's holiday dinner, I noticed a young man sitting near the front door, with a backpack, looking forlorn.
First, I just waved at him, passing him by. He didn't ask for money.
He just sat there... probably waiting for someone to offer him something.
No one did.
I remembered I needed to go back to my car to return an item. I walked past this same young man again, and felt a twinge of guilt.
Something made me pause and go up to him.
Impulsively, I said, "Hi! Would you like something to eat?"
He looked up at me, startled at my question.
"Sure," he answered with a grin.
"Do you want a sandwich or chicken?"
"Chicken would be great," he replied.
"Fried or roasted?" I asked again. By now, I felt like we were friends.
"Roasted," he replied with an even bigger smile.
I nodded at him. "Fine. I'll get it for you..." I paused, realizing I hadn't even asked him a more important question. "What's your name?"
"Robert," he said.
"Okay Robert, it'll just be a few minutes," I told him.
I admit -- I've never done anything like that before.
I got his food first before doing my shopping.
Jewel was selling sliced watermelon pieces in a cup for a dollar, so I added that to the "family size" chicken package, I wanted him to have leftovers.
The clerk packaged eight pieces of chicken with two sides of cole slaw, french fries and four dinner rolls. It all fit together in a nice bag.
You would have loved seeing Robert's face when I handed him the bag.
He was so grateful. It wasn't such a major investment -- about $15 -- to give someone a gift of food and to let him know that someone cares.
Our life is the journey of our experiences.
We don't get to choose every experience that happens in our lives.
Yet we DO get to choose our outlook. That outlook becomes the story of our life.
Let me wish you a Happy New Year -- in whatever religion or non-religion you choose.
As my wonderful Rabbi Bruce says, "The most important thing to remember is -- listen to one another."
I believe we have much more in common than our outer differences.
We're all here for a reason.
Listen and recognize that we all make a difference.
Here's to your success.