Guest Column by the residents of Moishe House Atlanta-Toco Hills and Moishe House Atlanta-Inman Park
Whether to announce the new moon, the new year or a calling together of people, the shofar was our cellphone in the biblical age.
Each blast is an SMS, Facebook message, BBM or iMessage from the Rambam, telling us to “arise, you who are fast asleep, and awaken, you who slumber.”
The shofar blowing is the ultimate call to action. With every blow, the breath should permeate your body, ridding your mind of “empty, futile pursuits” and forcing you to “search your deeds, repent and be mindful of G-d.”
Brené Brown quotes President Theodore Roosevelt early in her book, “Daring Greatly”: “It is not the critic who counts, not the person who points out how the strong man stumbles. The credit belongs to the person who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again … who knows enthusiasms, the great devotions … who at best know in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if they fail, at least fails while daring greatly.”
Rosh Hashanah teaches us to show up in the arena, be fully present and make ourselves vulnerable in an effort to know “great enthusiasms.” The days from Rosh Hashanah to Yom Kippur are the Yamim Noraim, the Days of Awe. We encourage you to truly make these days and all the days of 5777 awe-full.
Say yes to events throughout the community. Donate to the Jewish Federation of Greater Atlanta. Celebrate Shabbat. Join a sports league. Lie on the grass at Piedmont Park. Skip down the BeltLine. Volunteer with VIA. Grant yourself a good and sweet new year.
When the shofar blows this holiday, allow yourself to receive that SMS and let it be your call to action. “Arise” with the Rambam. “Rise up” with “Hamilton.” “Let’s do it” with Home Depot. “Hey! Oh! Let’s go!” with the Ramones. “Seize the day” with the “Newsies.”
Strive valiantly through Atlanta. We do not need you to mar your face with dust, sweat and blood, but with smiles, accomplishment and maybe some hummus residue.
Show up in the arena that is the Atlanta Jewish community and fail, achieve, show great devotions and do so by daring greatly. Bite into your nonmetaphorical, nondigital apple as you listen to the shofar this year and arise.
The seven of us Atlanta Moishe House residents welcome all Jewish twentysomethings in the greater Atlanta community to be present in Jewish life all year long. Whether through celebrations of Jewish holidays, participation in a community service event that works to better our community, a Jewish learning program or one of the 158 total programs we hold annually, “awaken, you who slumber.”