Yesterday, when I was heading home after a meeting at TKE, I was asked if we celebrate the secular new year as we had celebrated Rosh Hashanah several months before. My response was, "yes." You see, while the Jewish New Year marks the turning of the Jewish calendar, we also celebrate the secular calendar. In the United States (and in most countries worldwide), Jews follow 2 calendars - the Jewish calendar and the secular one. So, yes, it is ok and I encourage everyone to celebrate as we "ring in 2015."
2014 was a very successful year for my family for many reasons. Of course, the highlights include the birth of a new daughter and a renewing of my TKE contract. However, as my family celebrated this year, there is so much more to do in the upcoming year and in future years. You see, we still live in a world with millions of children going to bed hungry or starving every night. We still live in a world in which people can be killed for the color of their skin or their sexual preference. We still live in a world in which human sex trafficking (especially children) is one of the most profitable industries.
I would be remiss if I did not mention the problems in the Middle East. Of course, all peoples in the world want to live peacefully. However, what we find in the Middle East are people fighting over religion and land...and, I must say that although I support Israel as a Jewish country, I also hope and pray for peace for all people in the Middle East. There is a way for this to happen - and I pray that the solution will come soon. Organizations like Kids4Peace (K4p.org) are really trying to pave the way for this to happen.
As we ring in 2015 this evening, let us hope and pray for all people in the world to live in peace, where there religion, race, culture or creed do not determine their rights as human beings.
Rabbi Erin Boxt