New Year’s Resolutions and Revelations by Susan Jacobs, Director of Education

As Jews, we have two New Years, Rosh Hashanah and January 1st.

When I was younger, I used to see Rosh Hashanah as the reset button for my spiritual self. It was my time of reflection and introspection. A time to take stock of my relationships and personal journeys and to center and change things that didn’t feel quite right or were glaringly off course. It was a time filled with prayer and deep thoughts and hard conversations with myself.

January 1st was a totally different story.  Nothing spiritual at all. It was the time to think about everything else.  My focus was all physical and outward. There were lots of resolutions to lose weight and exercise more. I would focus on assessing and setting career goals. I spent time writing lists of things that I hoped to accomplish or things I wanted to do or places I wanted to go. There were always lots of goals around finishing the myriad of projects started in the prior years, left unfinished in closets around my house. I’m a great starter but not such a great finisher. Like many people, my January 1st reset often went by the wayside in short order. The two new years were like two separate parts of myself and I never saw any connection.

What I have learned as I have aged, is that the spiritual reset and all the other parts of my life have to be in sync in order to make any significant changes, whether inward or outward. I can’t move forward if I’m not centered or grounded. Judaism, prayer, family and community are all parts of my spiritual and physical self. If the deepest parts of my soul are in flux then everything else feels rocky. Losing weight, being healthy and taking care of my body is not something that just happens in January. I now see that as holy. My career goals are now more about my relationships with the people and families I serve and less about the state of my career. I no longer write lists of things I need to accomplish. I am not as hard on myself as I have learned to appreciate the gift of time that seems to be passing so quickly I can hardly believe it. I need fewer things but I need more time with the people I love.

For me, the two New Years are now two sides of the same coin.  Both are opportunities to take stock, re-center and to appreciate the gifts with which I have been blessed.