Shana Tova U’metukah
Shana Tova U’metukah

September 3, 2021

The sound of the shofar blowing during the month of Elul is an annual reminder for us to take stock of the year that was, and prepare for the New Year that is upon us. This is a time for reflection and a time to remind ourselves of what is important.

This past May, Israel once again had to fight a war against a terrorist group and antisemitism returned to the streets of Europe and North America. One hundred and twenty years after the Dreyfus trial, the cry "Death to the Jews" was heard again in Paris, London, New York, Los Angeles, Toronto, and Montreal. Seventy-six years after the Holocaust, we heard the call of "Jews to the gas chambers" and "Hitler didn't finish the job" in front of the Israeli Consulate in Westmount Square. More times than is comfortable, we heard Jews say, "For the first time in my life I feel afraid." The world of social media has ignited antisemitism in ways we could never have imagined, and cancel culture has prevented many from standing up against what we all know is unequivocal Jew hatred.

It is during this time of the Jewish calendar that we must renew our conviction and deepen our pride as a Jewish people. We must confront our fears of the past and present. And we must recognize that for the first time in nearly four thousand years of Jewish history, we simultaneously have independence and sovereignty in the State of Israel and freedom and equality in the Diaspora—and our voices shall be heard! No other time in Jewish history have we been as free as we are today to make choices. Choices on how to celebrate our Judaism; choices on where and what to study; choices of where to work and live. And as we once again face new challenges of the oldest hate—antisemitism—we must choose to live proudly as Jews, resilient and steadfast in the face of those who hate.

As we enter these days of T'shuva, the days of Chidush—renewal—let us remember that eight decades ago Hitler implemented the Final Solution. And while we mourn the unimaginable loss of the Shoah, it is we who stand here today, a proud Jewish nation, celebrating another New Year.

So as we bring in 5782, we must take stock of all that we have gone through. And then, as we have for generations, we will rise again, renewed and more resilient. Committed to our values and teachings.

Wishing you and your loved ones a Shana Tova U'metukah. May your best days of this past year be your worst days of this next year. May it be a year of sweetness, good health, peace, and togetherness.

Yair Szlak, LL.B
Chief Executive Officer,
Federation CJA

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