By Rabbi Erin Mason, URJ Camp Newman Camp Director

Shabbat shalom, and Shana Tovah!

Today marks the end of the Days of Awe, the 10 days between Rosh Hashana (the Jewish new year) and Yom Kippur (the Day of Atonement, the holiest day of the Jewish calendar). During these last 10 days, we have been reflecting on our year and looking toward the new year. We are taught in our liturgy that this is a time to both look inward and to reach out to those around us whom we may have hurt this past year. It is our time to ask forgiveness from each other for any wrongdoing, allowing ourselves to enter into the new year with a fresh start.

As we do so, we think about what it means to be our best selves. Have we been the person we know we can be? Have we treated those around us with kindness, love, and respect? Have we lived the C.A.R.E. philosophy we talk about at Camp Newman – have we helped create a holy community, accepted everyone for who they are, been a good role model, and seen each and every person in the image of God? Have we been our best selves?

As we enter this Shabbat and this Yom Kippur, this Shabbat of Shabbats, may we take that deep breath we need and appreciate the love that surrounds us.
May we each do our part to create a caring, loving community of acceptance, role modeling, and seeing the uniqueness in each other.
May we feel the shelter of peace spreading over us, and may we do our part to spread that peace over others.

Gamar chatima tovah. May you be sealed for good in the Book of Life.