Though there is still plenty of snow on the ground, and perhaps a few more inches to come, we have survived the brunt of a brutal winter. For many, this was the most disheartening winter on record. While we might revel in breaking our own snow record, the breakdowns of transportation, loss of income to individuals and businesses and the multiple snow days still to be made up have been demoralizing. With crews working to repair roads and tracks, and freezing temps keeping snow piles in view, we will be recovering from this winter for some time to come.
With the first day of spring upon us, this is a good time to take stock. Milestones like the spring equinox do not necessarily promise a clear ending or beginning. A thirteen year-old does not suddenly acquire maturity at bar/bat mitzvah. The relationship of a newlywed couple does not automatically grow more loving or committed on the wedding day. Much like any simcha (celebration) or ritual moment, we can use this date to see where we’ve been and look forward to where we are going.
The winter storms provided multiple opportunities for measuring our resilience and our compassion. Did we manage to overcome resignation and bitterness? Did we shovel snow for our neighbors or give an extra tip to the newspaper delivery service, dog-walkers or cleaners who came to our house or office? Did we find ways to entertain our children, spend time with partners and spouses, or even share our photos and stories with good humor? And did we recognize how blessed and fortunate we truly are to have heat and electricity, solid homes and sufficient food? As one friend put it, “I’m grateful I don’t live in the Ukraine or Syria.”
Israeli Elections on St. Patrick’s Day
No, I can’t find any meaning in that confluence of events, except that it might succeed in bringing a smile to your face. By now, you have probably read plenty of reports and analysis about the election results. And if you haven’t, I want to point you to a couple of items.
In January, we hosted a talk entitled “Israel’s Critical Election Dilemma: Change or Status Quo” with Israeli journalist Eetta Prince-Gibson. Now we know the answer: more of the same. That’s part of what Jeremy Burton, Executive Director of the Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC) had to say the next morning in JewishBoston.com. I appreciate Jeremy’s ability to distill truths in a way that everyone can agree on, no matter what your personal political leanings. He is a true role model for maintaining balance while respecting the wide range of views in the Jewish community.
And if you’re looking for something more pessimistic, I recommend JJ Goldberg in the Forward, “Trouble Ahead for Bibi. Plus: Why Herzog Lost.” Not that I’m a fan of pessimism (I’m not!), but he lays out some of the challenges for Israeli society resulting from the recent election campaign.
There are many more ways to discuss the election. I’ll end by saying that, like the spring equinox, an election is a moment to take stock. I pray that, like the promise of spring, the outcome of this election will bring opportunities for renewal.