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September 29, 2011 - Image 70

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2011-09-29

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spirituality >> Rosh Hashanah greeting

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September 29 a 2011


It's Not Enough
Just to Hear


f there is one phrase that, more
than any other, has caused me
pain, embarrassment and frustra-
tion during this past year, it would be
something similar to: "But I left him a
message" or "I sent you an emair
On countless occasions, I found
myself apologizing: "I'm
so sorry; I never heard
your message ... I don't
recall having heard it."
While I certainly take
responsibility for the
many times that I just
wasn't able to respond to
every question or request
that came my way, it has
been a great source of
personal dismay for me
to realize that others are
basing their reactions to
me based on what I did
not hear.
"Shema Yisrael!" The most impor-
tant phrase in our tradition is "Hear, 0
Israel!" But it has never been enough
for us, as Israel, to merely "hear." We
must truly listen and respond; we
must bear witness and act.
Our modern, technology-based
world judges so much of our lives by
the speed through which our respons-
es and actions are measured or by the
amount of artificial memory through
which our gadgets can make our days
more complex.
Less and less do we find the time
to interact with each other, across the
neighborhoods, across the genera-
"I left her a message, but didn't hear
back." Our "conversations" take on the
rhythm and limits of a certain num-
ber of characters, words or seconds —
until the screen is filled, or the "beep"
cuts us off.

B'nai B'rith Volunteers
Provide Holiday Meals
On Sunday, Oct. 2, B'nai B'rith vol-
unteers will package "Break the
Fast" food packages for the needy.
The packages will contain non-per-
ishable kosher items for 50 families
of four or five, and will be delivered
to Jewish Family Service.
The program is facilitated by
individual financial support, trea-
sury gifts from B'nai B'rith lodges
and units, the Congregation Shaarey
Zedek Men's Club and the aid of
local merchants.
Anyone interested in helping

"Lishmo'a kol Shofar!" We are com-
manded to hear the sound of the
Shofar; to usher in our New Year with
an alarm, a wake-up call to truly lis-
ten, and, if we don't hear the message
the first (or the second or even the
third) time, to listen again. But more,
if we send a message our-
selves and don't receive an
answer, don't always assume
that the answer is "no."
Look around at your com-
munity on Rosh Hashanah
and Yom Kippur. Seek out the
one who is newly alone and
offer words of welcome or
consolation. Offer your hand
and help once again to agen-
cies and projects that might
not have needed you last
year — this next year, their
situation may be different.
Meet one new neighbor; invite
someone to join you at home or syna-
gogue for Shabbat; listen to (and even
discuss) the lyrics of the crazy music
that your children or grandchildren
consider to be the voices of their gen-
eration. What are they really saying?
In the New Year, I will try better to
respond to messages, to listen to the
pleas and sounds of those around
me, and to speak up for those with no
voice at all. But I also pledge not to be
satisfied with just hearing...
"If you have done your fellow a little
wrong, let it be in your eyes great; if
you have done him much good, let it
be in your eyes little. If he has done
you a little good, let it be in your
eyes great; if he has done you a great
wrong, let it be in your eyes a little."
(Avot of Rabbi Nathan) I

Norman T. Roman is the senior rabbi at

Temple Kol Ami in Bloomfield.

prepare the baskets may contact
the B'nai B'rith Office at (248) 646-

Give To Yad Ezra's
Yom Kippur Drive
Yad Ezra's Yom Kippur Food Drive
will take place Oct. 9-12. Every year,
it provides approximately 30,000
pounds of food that is distributed
among 1,600 families in the Jewish
To donate, bring canned goods
and packaged foods to Yad Ezra's
warehouse, 2850 W. 11 Mile, Berkley.
For information, call (248) 548-3663.

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