Next Year... - March 16, 2021

Carl reflects on maintaining a sense of optimism during challenging times.

March 19, 2021
Graphic of gears turning and hand holding tools to tune up

Next Year... - March 16, 2021

Carl reflects on maintaining a sense of optimism during challenging times.

March 19, 2021

Learn from yesterday

Live for today

Hope for tomorrow

Alexander Jewish Family Service Friends – 

During challenging times it can be hard to maintain a sense of optimism. When we choose to work in the social services field we are often confronted with injustice, hurt and pain and at times we may feel that we want to look away. Author Haruki Murakami reminds us that:

“Closing your eyes isn’t going to change anything.
Nothing’s going to disappear just because you can’t see what’s going on…. Keep your eyes wide open.”

On the other hand, finding ways to stay hopeful and optimistic is an important component to maintaining our strength. Ishmael Beah, author of Radiance of Tomorrow encourages us to remember that:

“We must live in the radiance of tomorrow, as our ancestors have suggested in their tales. For what is yet to come tomorrow has possibilities, and we must think of it, the simplest glimpse of that possibility of goodness. That will be our strength. That has always been our strength.”

There is a classic Israeli folk song, Bashana Haba’ah (Next Year) written by Ehud Manor and composed by Nurit Hirsch. The song was originally inspired by the death of Ehud’s younger brother who was killed in battle in 1968 and it expresses the hope that next year will be better and that we will be living in peace. Because of the theme of hope for the coming year it also became associated with Rosh Ha’Shanh – the Jewish new year. When I was growing up, it was a favorite song at summer camp and brings back wonderful memories of singing with my friends after lunch on Shabbat. I have copied a portion of the lyrics below:

Next year we'll sit on our porch
And we'll count migrating birds
Kids on a holiday will play Tag
Between the house and the fields
You will see, you will see
How good it will be
In the year, in the year that will be

In the work that we do –whether it is helping clients lift themselves out of poverty, supporting clients in confronting past traumas, return to work following a period of unemployment or learning to cope with the stress of a pandemic – we all need to remain hopeful that it is possible to move from a place of pain to a future that is better, brighter and where the hurts of the past have achieved a measure of healing and closure.

As we approach the Passover holiday which we will observe beginning on Saturday night 3/27 we will conclude our Seders with the words, “Next Year in Jerusalem”. This year on Passover we will have much to be thankful for – we now have a number of vaccines available for COVID and, as more and more people get the vaccine, pieces and parts of our life are slowly beginning to return to the familiar routines we have missed so much. Just like the struggle for freedom continues in each generation, the path forward from the experiences of COVID may be a long one but each day, month and year we can celebrate how far we have come and look forward to a better year ahead.

I hope that we will all come to see how good it will be and that soon we will be sitting together on our porches, at our tables, at our places of employment and in our houses of worship together.

This year, as I conclude our Seder, I think that I will add to the words, “Next Year in Jerusalem” – the additional prayer, “Next Year in Togetherness”

Take care,
Carl Josehart's signature

Carl E. Josehart, MSW (he/him/his)

Chief Operating Officer

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