Summer is over. The solstice and Jewish New Year are passing. For many of us, it is a time of reflection and re-beginnings. Unlike the “January 1st” New Year, I start mine off in prayers. Many spent this past month reflecting on the year just ending. What we did and what can we do better?

All of us have done things we are sorry for. Next we will begin our prayers asking for forgiveness of what we have done to others that we have not been able to apologize in person for and we will proclaim that we forgive anyone who has wronged us.

These are not supposed to be empty words. It is said that we cannot atone for our sins if we do not forgive those who have wronged us.

So, here and now, I apologize to anyone whom I have hurt with words or deeds that I have not personally apologized for and more than that, I forgive anyone who has wronged me with words or deeds. May we enter a new period free of these burdens.

I believe that we can all do this. You don’t have to be Jewish to do this. You don’t have to spend hours in a synagogue to accomplish this. You can make a decision to have a new beginning right now. Take advantage of the Solstice. Use it as an opportunity for change.

Every time we strive to do better, even if it is short lived, we do become a better person. We see the possibilities; we may even realize some of them.

In a Wiccan circle, we welcome in the four directions, North – South – East – West. With each direction, we welcome in the possibilities that that direction offers us. We can learn a lot from this. If we welcome into our lives the possibilities of different people and what they bring – the four corners of the earth – our lives will be enriched. Think about it. If we open ourselves up to each other and The Other, we can form bonds instead of fear. We can learn about how each of us aspires to be our best, how we can witness the best in each other.

There are those who would keep us afraid of each other, afraid of our differences, afraid of what we do not know. We must not allow them to win. We must reach out to each other, cross the aisles, march together, protest together, celebrate together.

Whether you celebrate the solstice, the Jewish New Year, or the beginning of the rest of your life, I offer the following to you…

May you all be blessed with a new year of renewed strength, renewed curiosity, and renewed spirit to continue the work that each of you do. May this be a year of health, happiness, and joy.

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