Tag Archives: Rosh Hashanah

Be the Change

Okay, I did the one thing that, as a professional journalist, I swear never to do: I missed my deadline.  Yep, my day to post on this blog is the first Tuesday of each month.  I have almost never missed, but this week, I just can’t remember what day it is.  And while for the average reader it is surely not a major issue, for me it represents just how disoriented I am these days.  I’ve written about it before, but as the season is changing again, I am reminded of just how long we have all been dealing with the current pandemic.  The light through my window is different, the air feels crisper and when I run the few errands I must these days, the décor is focused on Thanksgiving and even Christmas!  How is that even happening again? 

There are other events that have served to keep me off kilter, as well.  The recent death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, on the eve of the Jewish holiday of Rosh Hashanah, has triggered so many memories of my own mother.  The two women were born just a year apart.  Like RBG, my mother wanted to become a lawyer.  But while Ruth was cheered on by her parents and later, her husband, breaking down the barriers in her path, my mom was discouraged from following that path.  My grandfather, himself a judge and state legislator, felt the law would be a difficult profession for a woman of that time.  He wanted to protect my mother from the mistreatment he knew would come her way.  “Be a teacher,” he told her, “That’s a good profession for a nice Jewish girl.”  And so it was. 

My mother was a brilliant person and a gifted teacher.  She was a devoted wife and as a mother, well, there are no words to describe the depth and breadth of her love for her children.  And yet, I have always wondered if she didn’t harbor some regret about the path not taken.  In fact, one of her favorite poems was Robert Frost, “The Road Not Taken.”  She used to recite it to me, write it in birthday cards and reference it often.  When I would ask if she wished for some other life, some other story, her answer was always the same.  She was happy in her choice and dedicated to using her abilities to better her family and our community.  And she did amazing, wonderful things. She inspired not only her children at home, but countless children in her third grade classroom. 

Perhaps the question I should be considering is not whether she had regret, but rather whether she was fulfilled.  And whether fulfillment is not tied to any one thing but is a feeling that comes from satisfying one’s inner sense of purpose.  I believe my mother was wholly herself regardless of the task at hand or the job title.  She never wavered from living her values and sharing them with the world around her.  And while she didn’t change the world in big, revolutionary ways, she changed those in her sphere by being herself.

There is a famous quote, often attributed to Mahatma Ghandi, “Be the change you wish to see in the world.”  That was my mother. 

Oh, and make sure to wash your hands, wear a mask and VOTE!!!

About Barbara Dab

Barbara Dab is a journalist, broadcast radio personality, producer and award-winning public relations consultant.  She is the Editor of The Jewish Observer of Nashville, and a former small business owner.  Barbara loves writing, telling stories of real people and real events and most of all, talking to people all over the world.  The Jewish Observer newspaper can be read online at www.jewishobservernashville.org .

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Happy New Year: Asking for Forgiveness

Rosh-Hashanah-pomagranite

As I sit writing this month’s post, I am in a contemplative mood.  The Jewish High Holidays are around the corner, in fact as of the publication date, it is Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year.  And the 10 days between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, The Day of Atonement, are also called “The Days of Awe.”  These are the holiest days for us and an opportunity to reflect on the past year, to take stock of ourselves and our lives and to think about how we can grow into better versions of ourselves in the coming year.

One of the most important things we do at this time is to ask forgiveness of those we’ve wronged or hurt during the year.  It is customary to do this in person but in these days of electronic communication, many accomplish this task via social media.  Now, don’t get me wrong, I believe it is always appropriate to ask forgiveness in whatever fashion is available.  But much like sending an email thank you note, to me it falls in the “better than nothing,” category.  In other words, not as personal and seems like the easy way out.  But…better than nothing.  There is also the mandate that if you are the person who is being asked for forgiveness, that you must try to accept.  If, after three attempts you cannot accept, the person doing the asking is “off the hook,” so to speak.

Why all this focus on forgiveness being asked for and granted?  I don’t have a rabbinic answer, but I do have my answer.  To be honest, I have a very difficult time admitting when I’m wrong.  I know I inherited this from my dad and try as I might, it’s probably the thing I struggle with the hardest in relationships (ask my husband for more on that).  But as I’ve gotten older, I’ve come to realize that admitting you’ve been wrong and asking for forgiveness is one of the strongest things a person can do.  Taking responsibility for our actions, I believe, is fundamental to fostering and maintaining healthy relationships.  Not only that, but granting forgiveness when asked is also fundamental.  These behaviors serve to level the playing field between people.  Recognizing our basic, common humanity, moving beyond our mistakes and even loving each other in spite of it all is perhaps the trickiest, and yet, most rewarding thing in a relationship.

This coming year, I hope to become better at admitting when I’m wrong, asking for forgiveness and granting forgiveness to others.  And while I can’t actually ask each of you in person, I’ll take advantage of this forum to ask for forgiveness if I’ve hurt or wronged you in any way.  To those I can ask in person, stay tuned.  And to everyone, here’s wishing a happy, healthy and sweet New Year, whatever your faith, tradition, practice or belief.  Because who couldn’t use a little more happy, healthy and sweet?

About Barbara Dab

Barbara Dab is a small business owner, journalist, broadcast radio personality, producer and award-winning public relations consultant.  She is the proud owner of Nashville Pilates Company, a boutique Pilates studio in Nashville’s Wedgewood/Houston neighborhood.  Check it out at  www.nashvillepilatescompany.com.  She is also the creator of The Peretz Project: Stories from the Shoah: Next Generation.  The Peretz Project, named for her late father-in-law who was a Holocaust survivor, is collecting testimony from children of survivors.  Visit http://www.theperetzproject.com.  If you are, or someone you know is, the child of survivors of the Shoah, The Holocaust, and you would like to tell your story please leave a comment and Barbara will contact you.

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Happy New Year

 

L'Shanah Tova

This week marks the Jewish New Year, Rosh Hashanah and the Day of Atonement, Yom Kippur.  For the Jewish community these are the most significant and most somber days of the year.  The 10-day period is marked by self-reflection, prayer, spirituality and perhaps most important, asking for forgiveness.  It’s notable that this time falls in the middle of the secular calendar, giving us another opportunity to refocus and recharge our batteries as we bid farewell to summer and prepare for the colder months ahead.

As I was anticipating this year’s holiday season and wondering, as I always do, if I will find the inspiration I seek, I received an email from a dear friend.  This friend has been through a tough year marked by a contentious divorce, the challenges of aging parents and worries about college-age children.  At the end of her email, she relayed to me some things she’s learned about herself this year.  It was filled with hope and optimism and…aha! Therein lay my inspiration.  So here I share with you some of my resolutions as inspired by my lovely friend of 20 years.

  1. Find time to enjoy simple pleasures. I am an adventure seeker and a high-energy person (duh!).  I will give myself permission to take a walk in nature without the goal of burning those extra calories.  I will take a bubble bath and not take work along with me.  I will listen to the music I really love rather than whatever is on the radio at the moment.
  2. Read more. Well, actually I read quite a lot, most of it news-related.  In fact I am quite a bookworm and love to get lost in a good book, but rarely allow myself the time.  This year I will read for pleasure, maybe even look for a book club.  Whoa!  Baby steps!
  3. Spend time with good friends. Hmmm, my life is already filled with plenty of amazing people.  But I find I tend to neglect spending quality time with those special friends who really “get” me.  These are the folks some refer to as “family of choice,” the ones who love me unconditionally and who, by their mere presence in my life, give me courage.
  4. Get more rest. This is perhaps the toughest goal of all.  See resolution #1.  High-energy people do not like to sleep much!  I usually subscribe to the “I’ll sleep when I’m dead,” theory.  However as I get older, I find I really do feel better with more rest.  So, without giving it an actual number, I pledge to add more rest to my days, or nights, depending on how it works out.

A short list, right?  Well I’ve learned it’s best to break my goals down into manageable chunks.  I find the spiritual goals are often the hardest to attain and to keep, but are also the most satisfying.  I invite you, even if you are not Jewish, to take this time to think about your spiritual goals and share them with us here at HerSavvy.

One more thing.  An important part of this season for Jews is asking for forgiveness.  So, if I have wronged you or caused you pain this past year, I am truly sorry and ask for your forgiveness.  And as we say in our tradition, May you have a sweet year filled with health, joy and prosperity.

About Barbara Dab:

Barbara Dab is a journalist, broadcast radio personality, producer and award-winning public relations consultant. She currently hosts two radio shows locally in Nashville, TN. Check out her website athttp://www.zoneabouttown.com.

Barbara is also creator of The Peretz Project: Stories from the Shoah: Next Generation. Check it out at http://www.theperetzproject.com If you, or someone you know, is the child of survivors of the Shoah, The Holocaust, and would like to tell your story please leave a comment and Barbara will contact you.

Like what you’ve read? Feel free to share, but please… Give HerSavvy credit. Thanks!

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