Every morning, weekday or Shabbat, we Jews traditionally praise G!d as m’chadesh ma’asei v’reishit, “the Renewer of Creation.”[1] G!d fashions something new each and every day. That includes renewing us, so that we can live out in wholeness what life may bring us this, and every, day. We can really feel this at the turn of a calendar year, because each New Year, Jewish or secular, renews within us our hopes and possibilities for our lives. A new year is a new opportunity, a new beginning, a new start.

An angry reader stormed into the newspaper office waving the current edition, asking to see the author of the obituary column. He was referred to a cub reporter and showed the reporter the column, which contained the reader’s obituary! He declared, “You see I am very much alive. I demand a retraction!”

The reporter responded, ‘I never retract a story. But I tell you what I’ll do; I’ll put you in the birth column and give you a fresh start!”

With the new calendar year, we are all being given the opportunity for a fresh start. Let us, then, not only reflect on the vagaries and challenges of 2023; let’s justify the gift of life, and the possibilities of 2024.

We can do this in many ways:

  • by being aware of life’s preciousness and its fragility
  • by leaning away from bitterness and remorse and leaning toward kindness and joy
  • by developing to the fullest the potentialities and sensitivities that come with life
  • by putting the whole of our intelligence to work in sustaining and enhancing the conditions that make life not only possible by good and worthwhile;
  • by cherishing the human habitat and shielding it from further depletion and devastation;
  • by joining in our CAH community, so that we can get the spiritual support and emotional grounding of our tradition and fellow CAH’ers;
  • by using our free will to the utmost in advancing the cause of life;
  • and, finally, by celebrating and enjoying life itself.


I send out prayers and positive energy to all of you for a 2024 that is filled with holy moments, good health, joy, meaning, togetherness, and peace.


Rabbi J.B. Sacks



[1] It is in the second sentence after the Bar-chu, just after the Yotzer Or prayer.