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Parashat Shemot: A Time to Restart

Happy New Year! You have reached the end of your first week of 2018. How do you feel? Like nothing has changed, or everything. Perhaps, you have new goals set for the new year. A tradition most of us follow. But, how often do you accomplish those goals? We start off with great intention, both motivated and hopeful that we will conquer our goals. I truly hope that you do succeed in reaching most of them. However, if you don't, that's ok too. Let go of your feelings of failure because it seems to be a part of our nature, a pattern of life that things happen, some self-inflicted, and others by circumstances to prevent us from doing it all. The good news is that we are given many chances, many opportunities to try again. We live best when we have something to strive for, and sometimes we need timely reminders like the new year to restart and update. As long as we keep striving for something, we keep living.

Here is another chance for us to restart. I certainly need it. Today is the beginning of my restart. One of my goals this year is to step outside of my comfort zone, and engage with the wilds of social media. For those of you who know me, know that I have always been hesitant about posting things on Facebook, on my website, etc. So, here I go jumping into the abyss of my discomfort. This week in our Torah we begin the book of Exodus. We are back to the very beginning of our peoplehood. A new chance to learn and experience our History as a People. It is our chance to connect in new ways to our story, our History, and our Religion. To explore, and try new things. To challenge what we think we know about ourselves, and discover new details. Take this new year, 2018 to engage with your Judaism in a different way. Set one or two goals to learn or try something new. After all, we are at the beginning again, you have nothing to lose, and everything to gain. As some of you may already know the number 18 written in Hebrew is "chet yud," which means "life." So, this year 2018 is 20Chai, 20Life. Let this year, the year of "Life" be different. Challenge yourself with new goals, step outside of your comfort zone, learn from your History, and be patient with yourself. Most importantly, make sure you try. Don't pressure yourself to be perfect because you won't be, but as long as you try, you are living.

Shabbat Shalom!