We Can Do Better

I cannot get the image our of my mind!
On a morning walk when I lived in Jerusalem, I could see minarets, church spires and the Western Wall of the ancient Temple courtyard.

I cannot get the sound out of my ears!
At this time of the year—this month of Elul that precedes Rosh Hashanah—I could hear the mingled sounds of shofars, church bells, and muezzin calls urging Muslims to prayer.

These persistent images and sounds represent harmony and mutual respect.

I treasure them.

Yet we all know that the realities of Jerusalem and those of the world at large are a far cry from the images and sounds that my heart holds fast.

And yet I cling to hope! We can do better!

The greatness of humanity is not that we have always lived up to our lofty ideals but that we have never failed to hold our ideals aloft.

Those words are not original with me (I would love it if a reader can point me too their source), but I wish they were.

It is easy to look at our world and launch into angry rants.

We can demand change in our government, protest many policies, and feel good that we are taking a stand for social justice. “It is (to quote Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg address) altogether fitting and proper that we do this.” We hope our protests will bring change down the road.

But real change–immediate change—can begin in our own hearts and with our own actions.

This may not be the year that the images of  harmony, affirmation and respect that I treasure from Jerusalem become reality.


  • It can be the year when we express our own pain less and listen more to that of others.
  •  It can be the year we spend less time on our business and more time with our loved ones.
  • it can be the year we spend less on luxuries and more on helping others who have so little

It might not be the year that we change the world, but it can be the year that we change ourselves.




5 thoughts on “We Can Do Better

  1. Ameen! Thank you, Rabbi, for posting this. We can all make ripples in our own small corners of the world, until finally, we, together create great change. Wishing you all the best.

    Liked by 1 person

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