Commit Today to Changing the World

by Robbin Botnick, October 4, 2017

“It is not enough for me to ask questions; I want to know how to answer the one question that seems to encompass everything I face: What am I here for?”
– Abraham Joshua Heschel

As we begin a new year there is always the desire to allow ourselves to forgive the past and start again with an optimistic view for the future. Before I can allow myself to forgive the past, I need to ask for forgiveness. Forgiveness for showing up but for not always being present, for allowing myself to become distracted and not really being there for my children, my family, my friends and for our Solel Community; forgiveness for words that may have come out wrong and for talking when I should have been listening; forgiveness for forgetting how fortunate I am in my life when so many others struggle just to get through each day; and forgiveness for not being the person I know that I can be. I will commit today, to starting anew, to staying in the moment and giving of my time and ability, to making this year a better year and to making the world a better place than it was yesterday.

Today I am starting again and looking forward to tomorrow. Admittedly, as I focus on looking at the world with renewed optimism and committing myself to making a difference, I immediately get discouraged as I listen to the news and read the headlines. I want to believe that I can make a difference and that I can change the world. Changing the world, this is the goal of the young, and one that we forget as we get older because we believe that we can’t. I believe that we can! I believe that we can change the headlines! The news reads full of natural disasters, hurricanes, floods, fires, political challenges, nuclear threats, genocide. Women and minorities still struggle for equal footing and bigotry and racism are still far too prevalent. Gun deaths are becoming far too commonplace. How can we as individuals change these things, what difference can we make? How can we begin the mending of the world, when so many things are so broken?

Natural disasters will continue, but we can do our part to reduce the impacts of global warming. We can start by supporting recycling efforts; at Solel you will see green bins available for paper and recycled products and bags available for composting food waste. We can get involved by adding our voices to the climate change debate and by supporting political candidates who will advocate for climate related legislation. We cannot change many of the atrocities that are taking place on this planet, but we can support organizations that are working to establish basic human rights for all the peoples of the world. We cannot convince the Israeli government to give women a place to pray at the Western Wall but we can support ARZA and the Israel Religious Action Centre who can lobby the government on our behalf and on behalf of all Reform Jews for religious and gender equality in Israel. We cannot solve for poverty, but we can continue to collect food and make monetary donations to the Mississauga Food Bank ensuring families in Mississauga do not go hungry. We cannot easily change the bigot, the anti-Semite or the white nationalist, but we can teach our children that we are all perfect and equal as individuals regardless of race, colour, religion or sexual orientation and we can continue to welcome and support diversity in our community and into Solel. Hatred is taught so is love and acceptance. There are so many things that we as individuals can do and that we as a community can do.

“Few will have the greatness to bend history itself, but each of us can work to change a small portion of events. It is from numberless diverse acts of courage and belief that human history is shaped. Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring those ripples build a current which can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance.”
― Robert F. Kennedy

We, you and I, can commit today to changing the world, to starting anew. We can start small, in our own community, here at Solel, and watch the ripples grow.

Shana tova and Gemar chatimah tovah


Filed under: President's Message

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