Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Of Calendars and Crocuses

When my dear friend, Shoshana, visited from Israel this summer she brought me a wonderful gift - a calendar with pictures of flowers of Israel on each page.
Even in this digital age when I could have everything on my computer, I still prefer the old-fashioned way for organizing my days, weeks and months. Keeping my life in order while simultaneously enjoying the flora of Eretz Yisrael is a winning combination.

One of the best things about using a calendar is starting a new one. Turning the pages from month to month engenders a certain sense of renewal but to begin an entire booklet of clean slates is, in my humble opinion, a feeling far more exhilarating than the sum of its parts.
Jerusalem Autumn-crocus
My calendars have always been Jewish-year calendars so a new one usually means that Rosh Hashanah, the ultimate clean slate event, is on page one - and always seems to come as a bit of a surprise. (What? Rosh Hashanah already? Where'd the year go?) But this forces me to think way beyond "September" and aids me in my attempt to start the new year "al regel yemin" (on the right foot). And that, of course, includes keeping Jerusalem at the forefront of my thoughts and prayers.

When I Remember Jerusalem in the year ahead, I'll consult my calendar to admire the Jerusalem Autumn-crocus or the Pistacia palaestina of the holy Land.
Pistacia palaestina
In January, I'll recall the winter roses that graced our neighbors' ginah (garden). In April, the wild red poppies that sang "Aviv Hee'gee'ah Pesach Bah". And in the summer, the flower of the pomegranate tree - that delicate harbinger of another Rosh Hashanah ahead. And I'll hope that when I turn the last page of my flower calendar in a year from now, we will all be starting our next clean slate amid the crocuses, anemones and lilies of the Land. May every calendar page until then - and thereafter - be filled with meaningful moments, healthy, peaceful days and joyful events for all Am Yisrael.

Below please find my annual Rosh Hashanah poem with, as always, a new stanza for the new year. With warmest wishes from our house to yours,
Z'ev, Berel, Simcha, Yoel, Shani
Bill and Yours Truly

Rosh Hashanah 5773

We ponder again the year in review;
what was accomplished, what's still left to do. 
Looking back, we can count all the ways we've been blessed
and assess how we've scored on G-d's many tests.

So many should’ves and could’ves but didn’t. Surely I would’ve if my heart had been in it. No more excuses! (Or at least not as many.) Gotta work hard to make hardly any…

What have I learned in the year that has passed? That no two people will take the same path. Be it highway or foot bridge, a road lies ahead. Walk yours with G-d, King Solomon said.

Our sacred laws, beloved traditions see us through challenges and transitions. From day to day, from year to year, our faith and our trust calm every fear.

The years come and go in the circle game. Events ever-changing; the cycle, the same. Like wood being shaped by the artisan's lathe, we marvel at eych ha'galgal mistoveyv.
Begin a new calendar, start a clean slate,
fill it with good deeds and character traits;
with memorable moments and meaningful days, months full of emulating G-d’s holy ways.
Yomuledet Sameyach! 
Congratulations, dear Earth,
on 5773 years since your birth.
With what shall we bless you on your special day? Global peace. Gentle weather. Prosperity...

Now the air's turning brisk; the foliage, bright.
Soon the table we'll set and the candles we'll light.
The challahs are baked; the honey dish glistens.
The shofar will blow; to its call we will listen.

Ripe pomegranates bursting with seeds
remind G-d of our merits, not our misdeeds.
The angels are ready to plead every case
to the Almighty King Whose judgment we'll face.

May He grant us good health and joy that is true, contentment and nachas and simchas "by you". Let this be the year that He takes our hands and leads us back Home to our holy Land.

Now we are ready, the holiday's here.
May it be the start of a wonderful year.
As we don our finest, it is so nice to know
that for Rosh Hashanah
We're all Good to Go!