Man’s New Year – A Time to Refocus

With school opening this month I am reminded of the three traditional Rs – reading, writing, and arithmetic. I thought of the approaching Jewish New Year – Rosh Hashanah, marking the celebration of the birth of mankind. It came to me that there is a moral three Rs – to be cognizant of, they are, responsibility, reckoning, and refocusing.

Between the adventures of Harry Potter and 18 million Mattel toys recall things were getting organized. In the animal world, a pooch called Trouble, a white Maltese, was gifted a $12 million trust by the late Leona Helmsley. The $12 million has captured the minds of millions of citizens. To be fair Mrs. Helmsley left the bulk of her millions to charitable trusts but had this need to care for her pooch, in a grand way I would say. 

Reggie the famous elusive alligator was transferred from Lake Machado, Harbor Park, California and given a new home at the Los Angeles Zoo. His home consists of a personal playground and waterfall. Coverage of Reggie’s escapades during the past two years cost tax payers over $200,000. It has now been reported that Reggie was unhappy with such a palatial habitat and escaped. He once again made headlines. Who knows what is in the minds of alligators or pooches.

What I do know is that the Veterans Administration hospital helps patients of all ages, religions and races. The common goal of the staff is to help the veterans. They medicate, give attention, and have a caring ear. When I hear that a veteran is out on the streets and can’t get the much needed attention I wonder if he would be better coming back from Iraq as a Reggie alligator. At least he would get the coverage - medical care and maybe a clean room with safe fresh water. Better yet, become a multimillionaire pooch and have a life.

The news doesn’t discriminate. In less than twenty minutes they give you the world. They report on sport scores, suicide bombers, health alerts, school killings, veteran abuse, toy recalls, politics, and movie reviews.

The media fills our minds with all kinds of reports from the simple to the complex; everything makes the news. Entertaining shenanigans by actors arrested or saving lost whales, to the diabolical killings, bombings, it’s all reported. National calamities such as earthquakes, exploding planes, falling bridges, hurricanes, and threats of global warming keep frightening us. 

Our most talented and gifted space programs are now riddled with accusations of having drunk drivers. I used to worry about meeting someone driving on the road under the influence, commonly known as D.U.I. Now we have to worry about flying under the influence, F.U.I. Imagine, an outright drunk astronaut, flying a billion dollar research and experimental vehicle. Now that gives a new meaning to being spaced out!

Now how can the mind process so much in such a short while? I wonder, are we really in touch with ourselves? As we are in a multi-task lifestyle we find ourselves occupied with cell phones, downloading, messaging, texting, photos, watching portable DVDs, banking on line, and dating all at the same time. What society is suffering from may be a case of sensory overload, causing us to lose our moral compass and sensitivity. We need a day to make resolutions, priorities, and establish boundaries. 

All this brings me to the approaching Jewish New Year – Rosh Hashanah. This year Rosh Hashanah begins on Wednesday evening, September 12th. Jews worldwide will gather in homes and houses of prayer to usher in the holiday. The holiday is marked by prayer, the blowing of a ram’s horn, called a shofar, and the dipping of an apple in honey, symbolic of wishes for a sweet year. A festive meal includes kosher chicken and wine, making it a special day. This is a day for responsibility, reckoning, and refocusing. It is an auspicious time to make new resolutions.

The Jewish New Year really marks the creation of all humanity and that encompasses all people. The New Year celebration is not a Jewish monopoly as it marks a milestone for all mankind. I believe that the Jewish New Year is a time for all of us to refocus our values of what is really important and what is trivial.

So dip a piece of apple in honey and have a happy New Year.