WRJ Voices: B'reishit

October 5, 2018Becky Markowitz

Time flies – that’s the bad news – the good news is we are the pilots. This is especially true during the High Holy Days and the fall festivals; another New Year is beginning. Where did the last year go? It went fast. As each year ends and a new year is on the horizon, we get a chance to look back and to look ahead at another new beginning: B’reishit.

I know many of us are especially reminded about those we love who are no longer with us and events of the past as we approach the new year. For me, it brings back childhood memories when we travelled to my Nanny’s house. all the wonderful holiday food smells, sitting next to her in synagogue, and having the feeling that everything was right in the world. I also think of the years when my kids were next to me, and even miss the whining and fidgeting. Isn’t it funny how we can remember things vividly that happened many years ago but can’t remember what we ate yesterday for breakfast?

In this week’s Torah portion, God creates the world and we are given descriptions day by day.  I think rather than literally examining these details, we need to look at what we have been given and what we are doing or need to do to make the world great. The message I see is that human beings were created in God’s image, meaning that we should act and lead our lives as if God is watching us. Every year we get the opportunity to reevaluate and make a fresh start, always looking at how we can do things differently, and make our lives and the world better than the last year.

We have the same opportunities with sisterhood and WRJ to take stock, make changes, and make sure our actions support our mission. This is challenging in today’s world; women have lots of choices. It is up to us to send our message to women that together we can do so much more. As women we are challenged to do all we can to ensure that all of us have the rights that we deserve and to remember how so many before us have worked hard to attain these rights. An equal voice, equal pay, reproductive rights, and religious freedom all benefit from power in numbers and money. We can do it!

Yesterday when I was driving I looked up and the sky was an incredible color and the clouds formed the most incredible and extraordinary shapes. When you hold a child in your arms, when you hear a song that takes you to another place, when you are listening to the sound of the ocean -  these are all moments that take our breath away and serve as a reminder of the many wonders around us that often go unseen. I’d love to hear some of yours. When we stop to encounter creation, time has a way of slowing down.

What a blessing it is that each year we get to begin with a clean slate. Every year there is a B’reishit and we begin to read the Torah again, and we read something a little differently that allows us to learn and to grow.

When we read this portion, we should be reminded that God created the world, but it is in our hands to make sure all that has been given to us is appreciated, cared for, and celebrated. May 5779 be a year of new beginnings and lots of sisterhood, spirituality, and social good for all of us. B’reishit.

Becky Markowitz is a member of the WRJ Executive Committee and the Immediate Past President of the WRJ Atlantic District. She is a past president of Congregation Shir Ami and a member of Women of Shir Ami. She is a realtor and lives in Newtown, PA. She has two wonderful sons and a daughter in law. She is a passionate volunteer and loves WRJ.

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