Home
In this issue

Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review Sept. 18, 2006 / 25 Elul, 5766

Real confession

By Gary Rosenblatt


Printer Friendly Version
Email this article



http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Selichos arrives just in time this year, ushering in the season of prayer, humility and reflection — a powerful antidote to our societyís growing focus on self, and at a moment when we yearn for a spiritual uplift.


Selichos, the weeklong penitential prayers that began around midnight on the Saturday night before Rosh HaShanah (Sept. 16 this year), is unique not only for the late hour of the service but the urgency of its message, which is focused on repeated recitations of G-dís 13 attributes of mercy (Exodus 34: 6-7), "reminding" the Creator of His promise to Moses of compassion for the Jewish people. There is also the powerful sense of communal humility, which sets the tone for the Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur services as well. We readily acknowledge our sins, listing a litany of them as we beat our hearts, and praying for forgiveness as individuals and as a people.


Such actions, linking us to generations of ancestors who felt a more direct connection to G-d and to each other, are contrary to American societyís increasing emphasis on satisfying, communicating and promoting our personal wants and desires without shame or embarrassment. We see this everywhere in our popular culture: Reality TV and confessional talk shows in which people will say and do almost anything for the chance to have a national audience, our fascination with people like Paris Hilton who are famous simply for being famous and the enormous popularity of personalized profiles on MySpace.com and other Internet sites that turn diaries into public documents for all the world to see.


Inner reflection and self-criticism seem inconsistent with a society that so highly values autonomy and personal decision making and expression. In America, confessionals are best represented by best-selling memoirs about secrets and taboos which are shared with boldness rather than discomfort.


In Judaism, confession — a key component of the High Holy Day season — is a humbling act, an admission that we are all sinners. Indeed, the themes and liturgy of the High Holidays draw us back to a very different way of seeing ourselves, and our place and role in history. Judaism teaches that life is a precious blessing whose goal is to recognize, praise and emulate G-d by imitating His qualities of compassion and goodness, and thus improving the world as best we can. The Torah gave the world the powerful concept that we are each holy because we are created in the image of G-d.


If we took this message to heart, the cruel and violent wars fought in the name of G-d would be seen as the very desecration of His name.


These thoughts come to mind as we near the end of a Jewish calendar year that has had more than its share of pain and division. America is torn over the war in Iraq, as it was over Vietnam four decades ago, widening the gap between red and blue, between those who vilify the president and those who support him, between those who want to bring our troops home and those who feel the need to press on. The Jewish community is increasingly divided between those seeking greater religious observance and those who feel little personal connection to their heritage. And while the attacks this summer from Gaza and Lebanon brought a heightened sense of support for Israel among many Jews, it also made us realize how lonely and potentially vulnerable Jerusalem is in the world.


The High Holy Day season reminds us that for all the problems that beset us, despair is not our way. We are instructed that if our prayers are sincere, they can bring renewal and another page in the Book of Life. What is required of us, though, is not just communicating with our Creator but strengthening our bonds with our fellow man, starting with asking forgiveness of each other for hurtful actions taken or words said in anger during the year.


The healing process, whether for an Israeli society still angry over the governmentís conduct of the war in Lebanon or for American Jews who show little tolerance for denominational differences, begins within our hearts. When we confront our own faults, we become more tolerant of those around us. But we must push ourselves to move forward.


Five years after 9/11, when life seems increasingly frightening and fraught with danger, we are commanded not to withdraw from the world but to embrace and improve it. Selichot and the High Holy Day prayers emphasize G-dís mercy on us; we need to carry that over to caring for His creations.


In that way, the shofarís blast can rouse us to appreciate the blessings around us and the potential within us for change and for good.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes uplifting articles. Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

JWR contributor Gary Rosenblatt is Editor in Chief and Publisher of the New York Jewish Week. To comment on this article, please click here.





© 2006, New York Jewish Week