Put Up a Mirror - Part II

In last week’s eNews missive, I spoke about meeting with some of the staff and telling them to “hold up a mirror” reflecting on what a great job they had done.

Holding up a mirror to ourselves is on all of our minds as we enter into the “10 Days” or “Days of Awe.” It is the period of time between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur….the ten days of introspection and repentance. 

The High Holy Days this year get underway with the celebration of Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year 5782, which will begin at sundown Monday, Sept 6.  Every family has their own holiday customs, but most common are eating apples with honey and a table with honey cake…honey representing the sweetness of the new year.  The High Holy Days conclude with Yom Kippur, which will begin at sundown Wednesday, Sept 15.  My own custom was to be in prayer at synagogue through concluding services as the sun set, shake hands with those who had spent the day with me in prayer and then immediately drive to Dunkin Donuts to address the headache I’d inevitably have from lack of caffeine during the fast.

Rosh Hashanah is all about new beginnings.  It is the beginning of the Jewish year. At this time of starting over, we spend the day thinking about our behavior over the past year and what we want to improve for the year to come. The mood for Rosh Hashanah is joyful, sacred and thoughtful.

We continue to reflect on our past and future over the next week and a half. By Yom Kippur, having spent 10 introspective days, we are ready for a “Day of Atonement.” With many in our community fasting and engaged in prayer, Yom Kippur’s mood is more serious. We want to be very honest, cognizant of our shortcomings and repentant as we come before God on the holiest day of the year. 

The “days” are an opportunity to look back on the mistakes of the past year, plan for changes to make in the new year, an opportunity to make amends to those we have wronged in the past.

It is very timely that the Savannah Jewish Federation is taking this time of introspection to share that over the past six months we have been working with Joy Goldstein Consulting to take a fresh look at the Federation and JEA, and community at large.  The initiative, led by Jeff Kole and seasoned leaders on the Task  Force, seek to "hold up a mirror"  to the community to help plan for the future.

Over the past six months, that committee has spent significant time evaluating the community’s challenges, past and future.  Thirty-six members of the community have taken part in one-hour interviews with Joy Goldstein.  All of this review and research has resulted in a Community Survey, which is linked here and in the graphic to the side. 

We are asking every single person in the community to “weigh in.”  It’s important that you know that

  • No one at the Federation or JEA (lay or professional) has any access to the survey responses.  The data will be completely confidential and will only be viewed by the outside consultant.
  • Participating in the survey is 100% anonymous unless you choose to enter the raffle at the end.
  • The results of the survey will be aggregated (so there can be no individual attribution) and analyzed and the results will be shared with the Federation/JEA leadership in November and with the community.
  • The survey should take 10 minutes to finish.

At this time of year it is in our DNA to take a look back and forward.  We hope that you will be that mirror of the community as it helps us all set the path for years to come.

On behalf of the Officers, Staffs, and Employees of the Savannah Jewish Federation and Jewish Educational Alliance.

Chag Sameach -- L'Shana Tovah

May the new year bring you continued good health;
May the new year bring you success and fulfillment;
May the new year bring you happiness and contentment and;
May the new year bring us all peace.