Rosh Hashanah – Yom Teruah by another name – is also known as the day of shouting or blasting.
Tekiah! Shevarim Teruah! Teruah! Tekiah Godola!
Close your eyes and you can hear these words calling out before the shofar blasts.
Gathering the entire congregation for the first shofar blast of the new year is a communal experience.
I remember being brought into the crowded “big shul” as a child with all the other kids to hear the shofar. We waited patiently and quietly for the sharp sounds, which always resembled a call to action, one so important that everyone needed to hear it.
Many consider the shofar blowing as a call to consciousness as we enter the Days of Awe. What is the Jewish communal call to consciousness in 2017?
As we reflect on what took place this past year, it is the perfect time to consider what our wakeup call is at this moment requiring a collective shouting or blasting of the shofar.
As a Jewish communal organization, I believe the Jewish Community of Louisville (JCL) must continue to be a unifying voice for religious equality in Israel in 5778, embracing diversity in our community, standing with our neighbors against hate and providing for the safety and security of Jewish Louisvillians who are struggling economically and emotionally.
Our collective consciousness is our compass; we must hear the blasts as a reminder of those who are counting on us.
Individually, we will hear the short, medium and long godol blasts. We do not hear the blast of the shofar in our homes alone; we hear it as a community. Your Jewish community needs you and has so much to share. Our congregations, JCL and the Jewish Family & Children’s Services are here to fulfill your needs.
I encourage you to take advantage of the countless opportunities to engage in Jewish life and come together as we work to make the world stronger. Take a few minutes this year to hear the blasts as our youngest children hear it for the first time, taking in the start of something new.
(Sara Klein Wagner is president and CEO of the Jewish Community of Louisville.)