09/12 Finding friends in the New Year

Finding friends in the New Year

Monday October 22 2007

With Rosh Hashanah fast approaching, the first full week of September is a time for both reflection and new beginnings. The summer, with all of its barbeques, weeks off from work and hot lazy days, has come to an unofficial close with the celebration of Labor Day, though – against fashion’s better judgments – some folks may still wear white.

And with the shortening of the days and a more permanent chill in the air, September also sees our children returning to school, armed with sharpened pencils and blank notebooks. We are both excited and anxious to say goodbye to our youngsters. College students will once again inundate the T as university is back in session.

Schoolmates will swap camp stories of bunk raids, color wars and other summertime adventures. The New Year is an opportunity to make new friends and, with the perspective of another summer, to reassess whether one still has the same goals – if you still want to be a mathematician or an artist – and then decide which elective to take.

As a community, we are coming together after camping trips and weekends on the Cape. And while our notebooks may have more notes scribbled in them over the years than our youngsters’, the New Year should be an opportunity to reassess whether we are happy with the direction where we are heading. If we are, what can we do to advance our goals?
If not, where have we gone wrong, and what can we do better?

Much led and ink has been dedicated recently to the issue with the Anti-Defamation League and the Armenian community. Last week, the local Jewish and Armenian community came together on the State House steps to reinforce the longstanding relationship between the two communities.

As Jews, it seems there is hardly ever a week – or even a day – that goes by that we, or the state of Israel, can’t steal local and global headlines. Perhaps we have a flair for the dramatic. But the friendships we foster locally and globally should not hinge on an editor’s choice of headline, or a historian’s interpretation of events.

Relationships that stand the test of time are rooted in common ground and mutual respect, if not complete understanding. As Jews, the Jewish state is important to us and we often ask our friends to stand by our side as we defend her.

And though it may not grab headlines, we should ask ourselves how we are reaching out to other communities on their own terms.

In this week’s story on the Lena Park Community Development Corporation in Dorchester – formerly the Hecht House – we see how the African American community is reaching its hand out to the Jewish community in a gesture of partnership.
Gestures of kindness, made in earnest, should be accepted with sincerity. Perhaps 5768 will be the year of the outstretched hand.

Source: http://www.thejewishadvocate.com/this_weeks_issue/editorial/?content_id=3623