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Shofarot – Rosh Hashanah 2017/5778

Rachel Starr

To be honest, I’m not great at listening to wake-up calls. When my alarm goes off in the morning, my hand instinctively reaches for the snooze button. Sometimes–usually–more than once. The shofar is a more visceral wake-up call–one that reverberates through our bodies and pierces through the silence. That doesn’t mean I’ve been any better at “waking up,” as it were, and keeping my commitments to work harder to repair our broken world. But this year, the shofar sounds a little different to me. This year, image after image and headline after headline has shaken me to my core. Every day has brought a new wake-up call, a new reminder of just how much work there is to do before this country lives up to its values of justice and equality. And there’s no snooze button on these alarms. In fact, it often feels like there’s not even time to catch my breath. As long as I’m “awake,” I might as well channel my energy into action. As long as I’m out of breath, it might as well be because I’ve been loudly standing up for what I believe. This work is new to me, and it can be exhausting. But every time I think about disengaging–about hitting a metaphorical snooze button–I think about the people who have no choice but to engage because their lives are on the line. This work is new to me, but it’s never been lonely. I surround myself with people who are engaged and courageous, and their persistence inspires me to keep going, too.

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