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Sermon by Rabbi Merle E. Singer – High Holy Days 2023/5784

Judaism, one of the world’s oldest religions, is a system of beliefs, rituals, and a profound philosophy emphasizing self-improvement and our connection with the universe.

Rooted in ancient teachings, Judaism offers a unique perspective on personal growth, ethical conduct, and the inter-connectedness of all living beings.

Central to the Jewish faith is “Tikkun Olam,” which translates to “repairing the world.”

This powerful idea reflects the belief that everyone is responsible for improving, for some are guilty, but all are responsible.

Judaism teaches that by working on our character flaws, developing virtues, and doing what we know is right, we can actively participate in improving the world.

And what better time than the Jewish New Year?

Judaism encourages a continuous journey of self-improvement, where individuals engage in introspection, seek forgiveness for past mistakes, and commit to personal growth.

The annual High Holy Days of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, allow us to reflect on our actions, atone for wrongdoings, and set intentions for the coming year.

Be truthful unto yourself. No one is perfect; we all make mistakes, act in misconduct, or let gossip and idle behavior take the lead over kindness.

So much can be repaired when we have the courage and bravery to apologize to ourselves and others. There is much greatness to the simple words, “I’m sorry,” and the gifts of hope that follow.

When we have the courage to apologize and the power to forgive, greater humanity is possible.

With the High Holy Days upon us, let us seek to repair ourselves and contribute positively to our community, our friends, and our family, and have the courage to repair a relationship or friendship with a sense of compassion.

This is what being Jewish is about. This is what the Jewish New Year asks you to recall and embrace.

L’Shana Tova.

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