I hope everyone enjoyed the summer, taking time to relax and have fun with family and friends. The High Holiday season is approaching at the end of the month, bringing with it the opportunity for self-reflection. During this time we are not asked, but rather expected to look back on our actions in general and toward each other in the past year.
Recently, society has allowed rhetoric, political ideology and finger-pointing to take the place of common sense and civility. We have gotten to the point where the political figures/parties we are aligned with cannot be criticized. Instead of holding our political parties and leaders accountable for their words and actions, we defend and justify them by tearing apart the other party or individuals with different views or opinions. It seems we have allowed polarization of views in the country to overtake the great national debate and discussion and revert to mudslinging and character attacks. Unfortunately, this practice has also taken root locally, as it is pervasive throughout social media, and has led to intolerance of one another because of differing opinions – whether it be between acquaintances or between lifelong friends. Being tolerant, respectful and accepting of those with divergent and opposing views and opinions should not be seen as a weakness, but rather as an opportunity for dialogue and debate. The Great Divide is a geological feature in this country, not something that should describe the political atmosphere.
In short, whether intended or not, or whether we have been conscious of it or not, climate change – political/social climate change – has occurred and only seems to be worsening. During this upcoming High Holiday season, I would encourage us all to look inward. We cannot ask forgiveness from G-d on Yom Kippur until we have sought it for our actions toward people.
I wish everyone in the TBS community a Healthy and Happy New Year.