Weeds, Yom Kippur, and a New Year

Writing about Weeds and Yom Kippur in the same sentence may seem strange, but I do not believe it to be so. The series finale of Weeds recently aired and a week later I am in New Hampshire trying to write down some thoughts and reflections as we approach Yom Kippur and begin the year 5773. Linking the two seemed to start making sense.

You see, I started watching Weeds during the summer of 2008 while on Boy Scout summer camp staff (which could also be a strange pattern of events). During “post-camp” we would watch Weeds when we had breaks or were done working. I sat in a tent with some of my best friends and watched what I thought was an absurd show.

Over time, though, I learned that the essence of Weeds, what continued to draw me to it, was that it is not so much about marijuana, but about relationships. Weeds is truly a story about people – family, friends – and what you care about and do for one another. I finally understand why every episode of Weeds makes me think back to that tent in 2008. We were friends. We were a family. And while not so extreme, we also learned and grew together. Just like I continued (and continue) to do with other friends and with my family.

I find it oddly appropriate then that Weeds concluded with an episode about a Bar Mitzvah on the eve of Rosh Hashanah. That Jewish twist in the show was always a plus for me. The characters have had quite a journey in eight years, but what Nancy cares about and what Nancy is trying to accomplish in the last episode is the same as the first: take care of and be around the people she loves.

The conclusion of Weeds is sad for me. It feels like the end of an era. I keep trying to find ties back to my days on camp staff but another one is over. Nevertheless, I keep telling myself that I live my history every day. What I have done is a huge part of who I have become and who I will be in the future. Everyday I strive to be a better person. Some days go better than others. That leads me to today.

The time between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur is a time for reflection: for thinking about the past year, asking for forgiveness, and making goals for a better next year. As I think about Weeds, I consider the most important things in my life: family and friends. It has been a good year for me with family and friends. I’ve been able to spend more time with family, keep old friendships, and make new friends. I’d like to strengthen those bonds this next year and need to focus on people, not things.

I have had an amazing amount of opportunities this past year. I am thankful for each of them. I am hoping this next year contains many more and is filled with personal and professional growth. Importantly, I want to do my part to help people get along. There is too much anger and hostility – and way too much inequality – in the world. To start, I need to be mindful of my situation and need to be less judgmental.

To all those whom I have offended this past year, knowingly or unknowingly, intentionally or unintentionally, I ask for your forgiveness. To those who have offended me, I forgive you.

Like, Nancy Botwin, I hope that I have done well for those about whom I care. In the last scene of Weeds, she is surrounded by her family. They laugh and they cry – but together. I hope to always be surrounded by the people who I care about and who care about me.

Thank you to everyone who made last year a great one. I hope I deserve the same, or an even better, new year.

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Rosh HaShanah Rock Anthem

This is way too good not to share!

Almost Rosh HaShanah

In about two weeks it will be the Jewish New Year, Rosh HaShanah.  Here is a video to start getting in the mood:

Some Thoughts On The New Year And Asking For Forgiveness

It is now 5771 — Happy New Year!

I was not ready for Rosh HaShanah to be here this year.  It seemed to be too early – school had not yet even started!  How could it be Rosh HaShanah?  Shortly after Labor Day, it seemed to confirm that summer is over and fall has begun.  Yet, I am not ready for fall to be here.  Slowly though, I realized that I am not in control of such things.

As I attended services, I became more and more aware that it really was Rosh HaShanah.  The readings, poems, prayers, and sermons all make it so real.  It may even be that the timing is perfect for me, as though Someone is looking out for me.  While I had to miss part of orientation to attend services, I did not need to miss school this year.  I definitely prefer this schedule.

I have so much to be thankful for.  I have so much I need to do better.  I have been told by some that I am a “good person” and that I must not have much for which I need to ask forgiveness.  I am glad that is the opinion those people have of me.  Nevertheless, I know that I have done things that I should not have done, not done things that I should have done, not performed my best, ignored people, hurt people, and not always done what I could (e.g. in relation to my understanding of others and trying to make the world a better place) during the past year.

I know that it is impossible to be perfect — but, I know I can do better.  And I will.

As the New Year begins, I am making a commitment to myself, to God, and to everyone with whom I will interact to improve and become a better person.  I want to use my influence for good.  I want to be less judgmental (non-judgmental would be ideal).  I want to not speak ill of others (or at least make significant strides in this area).  I want to be more understanding.  I am sure I will need reminders of each of these commitments throughout the year.  I appreciate those of you who will help ensure that I fulfill my commitments.

As is customary during the Ten Days of Repentance, I ask your forgiveness for anything I may have done against you this past year, any sins I may have committed.  I ask your forgiveness for anything I may have done to/against you whether in person or without your knowledge/behind your back, knowingly or unknowingly.  I apologize for any pain I may have caused you.  If there is something I have done that I have not proactively addressed, please let me know as I would be amiss in not doing so.

Thank you for being a part of my life, however large or small.  As we continue towards Yom Kippur I extend wishes of a sweet, happy new year full of health, peace, and prosperity.

May we all be inscribed and sealed in the Book of Life.

שנה טובה ומתוקה

Shanah Tovah! – Happy New Year 5771!

Tonight begins Rosh HaShanah, the Jewish New Year – and the beginning of the year 5771. May you have a happy, sweet, blessed new year filled with nothing but the best and may the world become a better places during this time!

May you be inscribed in the book of life for good!

Shanah Tovah U’Metukah! – Have a sweet and good new year!