A Beautiful and Meaningful New Year – Rosh HaShanah 5783

     By Hilary Forrest – DOROT Synagogue Outreach Social Worker


“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

I’m sure many of us have heard this quote by Maya Angelou before. As we approach the High Holidays, we’re given the wonderful opportunity to pause, reflect, and self-assess the person we are and who we wish to become. Life, especially in New York City, can move very fast and often it’s hard to zoom out from today’s to-do list to take inventory of what matters to us most – family, friends, and our responsibility to others.

Rosh HaShanah marks the first day of the New Year and the anniversary of the creation of humanity. And just as God planned to assess and evaluate the universe, we are given the opportunity to evaluate ourselves on this day. Can I change as a human being? Is forgiveness really possible? But before we seek God’s forgiveness and a fresh start, perhaps we should ask ourselves, have I done the work to serve other human beings on my own?

It’s easy to become overwhelmed by the magnitude of dire need across this world and the ongoing list of things we ourselves wish to change. But remember – change can only happen incrementally. Maybe as one person you cannot change the world, but what if you could change the world of just one person? Some of the main pillars of Jewish values we share at DOROT include Tikkun Olam – to repair the world & do good deeds; Tzedakah, stemming from ‘justice’ or helping people/ causes in need; and Chesed, acts of loving kindness for someone else. There are limitless goals and causes you can commit yourself to this New Year, but to start I’ll share with you some unique opportunities we offer at DOROT and the value of intergenerational work.

Some ways to Volunteer

  • Make caring calls to older adults from the comfort of your home
  • Develop an in-person companionship through Friendly Visiting
  • Deliver a seasonal holiday package to a senior’s home
  • Help an older adult learn and practice new technology skills
  • Celebrate the birthday of an older adult through a card, call, or visit
  • Give special meaning to your Bar / Bat Mitzvah by connecting with a senior
  • Interview, record, and share the story of a senior though the Legacy Project

These are just a few ways you can foster cross-generational relationships in your community and be the difference for someone else. As Lindy Alexander once said, “It’s a privilege to be able to bear witness to someone’s story when they may not have had the chance to tell it before….”

If you’re interested in connecting & learning more about DOROT, please email me at hforrest@dorotusa.org.

Shanah Tovah & wishing you all a sweet New Year!