It occurred to me that Rosh Hashana is fast approaching, autumn is calendrically here and the heat on this Shabbat morning in Jerusalem is problematic. As this is the time of the year that we Jews reconvene with ourselves for our soul accounting cheshbon nefesh and with God and people to ask for forgiveness, I am contemplating what my resolutions for the coming year could be.

At first glance, looking at my life from the outside everything seems fine. I tick the box on healthy, tick the box loving family, tick the box meaningful work, and as if that were not enough, I live in Jerusalem, a multi-culti city that speaks to my sensibilities, so what more is there to ask?

However when I lift my gaze beyond my small, private life, and see Israel, and the world from a bird's eye view, I see far better, what needs my attention and immediate care.

I see signs of the earth calling. I see droughts in our region, Syria being the most prominent example of what an extended drought can inflict. I see floods with victims by the thousands, and our beautiful earth and bodies of water contaminated, covered in garbage created by our abundant and affluent societies.

I am not discouraged by what I see as long as we communally acknowledge it and take action to repair it. Mending the world is one of our people's principles, after all.

What frightens me is that we have collectively buried our heads in the sand pretending what we experience is not actually happening.

My resolution for the New Year is to take my head out from the sand and see! Seeing and acknowledging the problem, is the first step towards solving it.

Co-operation is the key for us to collectively tackle an issue; Local, regional and international co-operation and team spirit. And in the process of our co-operating to solve shared environmental dangers looming upon us, we get to know our neighbors locally, regionally and beyond. And when meeting the other, the borders and walls that separated us before, come down and bridges are built instead, promoting sustainable development and peace.

The Seventh Generation principle was brought to my attention by my healer friend Maayan, this past August when we met in Aegina, Greece. "In every deliberation we must consider the impact on the seventh generation…even if it requires having skin as thick as the bark of a pine." The above quote is derived from the constitution of the Iroquois Nation, a Matriarchal clan system which further exlains:

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The thickness of your skin shall be seven spans — which is to say that you shall be proof against anger, offensive actions and criticism. Your heart shall be filled with peace and good will and your mind filled with a yearning for the welfare of the people of the Confederacy. With endless patience you shall carry out your duty and your firmness shall be tempered with tenderness for your people. Neither anger nor fury shall find lodgement in your mind and all your words and actions shall be marked with calm deliberation. In all of your deliberations in the Confederate Council, in your efforts at law making, in all your official acts, self-interest shall be cast into oblivion. Cast not over your shoulder behind you the warnings of the nephews and nieces should they chide you for any error or wrong you may do, but return to the way of the Great Law which is just and right. Look and listen for the welfare of the whole people and have always in view not only the present but also the coming generations, even those whose faces are yet beneath the surface of the ground — the unborn of the future Nation.”

May the Jewish people in Israel and the Diaspora hear the call of this living participatory democracy on our Yom Troua, our day of sounding the Shofar, as we usher in the new year, at sundown 1st Tishrei, 5778 for our and our children's year and seven generations down humanity's road to be as sweet as apple dipped in honey. Shana Tova u'Metuka!

 


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