This week’s Torah Portion, Nitzavim, is a favorite of mine, particularly right now. It literally means “You are standing”, You, meaning all of you people, all the Israelite people. I think it is particularly fitting that we read this also on Yom Kippur morning, as we are standing in the space of repentance, many of us fasting, recalling our misdeeds where we have erred and doing the internal and external work to fix these errors.  

I cannot help but think of the parallels just this week, in our world, with this Torah portion. The Israelites were standing together on the precipice of passing into the Land of Israel—a goal they had been working towards for generations. Similarly, we as a Jewish community getting ready to come together for Rosh Hashanah at sundown on Monday, while concurrently, our children are returning to school in a more normal fashion than last year—something many of them have been excited about for months.  

This pandemic has forced almost all of us to look into our lives as we sat alone with ourselves, isolated from our community, physically distant from the joys of hugs, kisses, naches from Grandparents and family, and to face some real demons deep within. Our isolation forced us to look at some of our habits, the way we have lived, the ways in which we have treated people, and we have been given an opportunity to make a change. Now that we are coming together, slowly but surely, we have a real shot at renewing our days and making them better than before. I invite you to listen to this setting of Hashveinu from the book of Lamentations, which I wrote for us during this time. As you listen, I invite you to think about ways in which you can be a better version of you, and can make the world better than before.  

Ross, Abigail, Zev, and I wish you Shabbat Shalom and L’Shanah Tovah U’metukah