Shanah Tovah! Tonight at sunset is the first night of the Jewish holiday of Rosh Hashanah, or the Jewish New Year. That means it is also the start of the Jewish High Holidays. Rosh Hashanah is a celebration, featuring prayer, family gatherings, and special foods, such as apples dipped in honey to ensure the coming year will be sweet. But it is also a time of reflection. Jewish practices encourage doing a serious self-assessment of your behavior and accomplishments over the past year and setting goals for your self improvement in the coming year. The ten days of the High Holidays culminate in Yom Kippur, which is the Day of Atonement. On that day, people are encouraged to fast, to remove themselves from their typical mundane activities, and to seriously reflect on and repent for their less-sterling qualities and to pledge to do better.
I’m not Jewish, but I like this opportunity for assessing my past year, letting go of what which did not serve me and/or the world, and starting anew with goals to do better. Fortunately, there is a way for all of us, Jewish and non, to take advantage of this opportunity for self-reflection without having to go to a synagogue (which are packed this time of year, and so it is not a good time for non-Jewish visitors to drop in).
It is an online program called 10Q. Each day, starting today, the website sends a question via email for participants to reflect on and to answer. The system saves all the answers (if you submit them) in a digital “vault” that is closed three days after Yom Kippur. It will then send you your answers from last year on the eve of the following year’s Rosh Hashanah to remind you of your goals for the year. Then the process starts over again.
10Q is free, confidential (unless you choose to share your answers), and easy to use. Of course, the difficulty can come in answering the questions. But I’m going to give it a try this year. If you would like to as well, click here to get started.
Here is the Day 1 Question:
Describe a significant experience that has happened in the past year. How did it affect you? Are you grateful? Relieved? Resentful? Inspired?
Even if you don’t do the formal program, it is an interesting question to ponder…. Of course, they are always many, but which one do you pick to write about, and why?