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I like the number eight. As long as I can remember, eight has been my favorite number. Seven might be the lucky number, but 8 is my favorite. I say this because today, the Jewish world turns 5778.  I don’t usually write something like this on Rosh Hashanah. Something that resembles the Christian new year. However, this year has been rough and perhaps, I should have before, and so I will now.

This year has been rough, it will be a year in two months that  Trump was elected; our naive hope that he would not last has become a depressing reality. I have applied and been accepted to Tel Aviv University and will study two things I am passionate about: environment and business. This year I became a married man, through semi-Jewish tradition. I ready many books, conquered many habits. Some of my photographs made it into a museum, I gave a few talks about my book. I went to Israel with Stephanie However, in some ways, this year has felt like a loss.

This year I feel there was little done with Our Jewish Story. Little progress was achieved with Phittle and very little headway on ending BDS. After a less than great year, we hope that next year will be better. After all, next year,  I will move to Israel and start on my masters. I will be living as a married man. I should have hope! Hope after all, is born within us out of the fact that we can do something. As long as we breath and can speak and write and think, we have influence and therefore we can do something. Now of course, we should also have realism about our abilities and our influence. We should know that we can only have hope if we have the will to act.

Sometimes we act kindly, sometimes passionately and sometimes, not enough. For instance, some people get angry and shout at their friends over things they disagree, but we should only get passionate to the degree we have influence. Thus we should be passionate with our wives and husbands, our kids and parents. We should be passionate because we have a say in their life. We have ability to influence them. We should also be passionate with our friends and do our best to keep them from making poor decisions, because we do have influence. Now we know that we should try to speak to our representatives and congress people, but we should not get too passionate about those things because individually, we have very little influence there.

This year, I have lived through a few life changing events. Events which gave me experiences generating feelings unlike any other in my 35 years on earth. To build my chuppah, to plan a wedding, to ask for a woman’s hand in marriage, to see her walk down the aisle, all feelings concerning those events are impossible to describe, which is why I did not anticipate them. Similarly to loose my wedding ring has also felt unreal. Perhaps less unreal only compared to seeing a monster become elected to the most influential post in the world and begin dismantling our safety and security like a child locked in a candy store has also been a feeling on the opposite spectrum (sorry my Republican readers, I know how you felt about Obama, let me have my feelings if you have yours).

On the other hand, I have also seen my child grow from a toddler to a person. I have come to understand my teachers and parents more than I ever thought possible. I have learned to have compassion for my co-workers, my elders and so many flawed people.

These are the experiences I gained this year. I have come to realize, that there is so much to gain every year that I cannot imagine the year to come. This experience we call life is so rich that no book can describe it, no 3-D experience can make it real. All I can say is I wish others what I wish myself: the audacity to live. I wish myself and others to have courage and have the ability to hope and dream, and to trust in self. We need to trust ourselves that we will find a way to get to the other side even if we can’t see the other side. We must trust ourselves because the alternative does us nothing. We need to trust ourselves because we’ve made it thus far, we might as well believe that can make it a bit further.

Thus this book is sealed. A new book is opened, but with the advantage of having read the ones before, we can walk stronger, faster, bolder.

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