If you have ever seen any of the more popular science fiction television shows or movies of the past few decades (think Star Trek and Star Wars and their innumerable sequels and prequels), than you can probably summon up in your minds eye the image of what happens when a spaceship engages its “hyperdrive”--faster-than-light travel-- to hop-skip-and-jump halfway across the universe: the starry sky suddenly blurs and streaks and, in a flash, there you are in some distant galaxy, ready for the next adventure in the story.
That is precisely how I feel as I sit down to write this column in early August....as if someone activated the “hyperdrive” button and my summer has been catapulted forward, leading me swiftly and inexorably toward our encounter with Yamim ha-Noraim, the Days of Awe. This sensation is exacerbated, of course, by the fact the these holy days (with respect to the secular calendar) arrive early this year.
So here I sit, in front of my computer on a beautiful, if muggy, Cape day, contemplating the arrival of the year 5,779 and what I must do to prepare myself for its arrival. A checklist helps:
• Prepare sermons
• Rehearse musical cues with our cantorial soloist
• Solicit participants to take part in services
• Set Torah scrolls
• Etc., etc., etc.
Of greater importance is identifying strategies for the new year that will help me cope with challenges to our nation and our world which threaten to be even more cataclysmic than those we experienced in 5,778. The November elections, less than a hundred days away as I write these words, loom large in my thinking.
I have embraced that well-worn mantra: “Think globally, act locally”, choosing to use my energy and skills to affect issues on which I believe I can have an impact, such as fighting attempts to strip transgender people in Massachusetts of the protections afforded them by law and continuing my work to convince the Massachusetts legislature to enact a law affording mentally-competent terminally-ill adults the right to request a life-ending prescription.
As an heir to a four-thousand year old tradition that teaches me that many battles worth fighting last long beyond the life-spans of those engaged in the struggle, I will enter the approaching new year believing that my efforts to improve our world ands the lives of its inhabitants can never be in vain.
May the Force be with me...and all of us...in the approaching new year!