From 1946 to Rosh Hashanah Tonight: A Blessing


I was 12 years old in the summer of 1946, a camper in a Jewish day camp in Baltimore, sponsored by the “Y” – the YM/YWHA. That summer I was the editor of our mimeographed weekly newsletter, “The Y’s Owl.” 

That summer, August 6 was the first anniversary of the destruction of Hiroshima, tens of thousands of people killed with a single atomic bomb.  That day in 1946 was also Tisha B’Av, the day when Jews mourn the destruction of two ancient Temples in Jerusalem.

On that day I wrote an editorial for “The Y’s Owl,” the first serious writing of my life. I ignored Tisha B’Av , except perhaps in some archetypal silent sense in which I sensed but did not  mention the connection – the danger of the destruction of all that is most holy. I wrote that Hiroshima pointed toward an obvious truth: the human race must put an end to war.

This year, 2017, more than half a century later,  and yesterday -- seven weeks after Tisha B'Av --  we are supposed to have come from destruction and grief to new life, a new year, Rosh Hashanah, a time of transformation.

Yesterday the ruler of the most powerful nation on Earth spoke before the assembled nations of the world:  “The United States has great strength and patience, but if it is forced to defend itself or its allies, we will have no choice but to totally destroy North Korea."

“Totally destroy.” A nation is a label for millions of people. Men, women, children. Laughing, weeping, makimg love,  building homes, scanning smart-phones, eating breakfast.  Millions obliterated, turned to smoke and ashes.The world a desert, devoid of life

I went to sleep last night with an image shadowing my sleep:

And yet I woke up this morning with a different image in my eyes:

Not yet devoid of life. A sprout of hope, of active nurturing.

And then another vision:

Beyond what seems to be the arid overwhelming desert of fear and oppression, rivulets of love connect and flow, surprise us by watering our lives. —

Tonight begins the time of Transformation.    Tomorrow we will take our misdeeds and cast them into the running water of our lives – not to be thrown “away” – there is no “away” in our interwoven world – but to wash away  their erring and their cruelty, to be cleansed of their mistakes and filled with the waters of life and love and clarity of vision. 

So now we at The Shalom Center thank you for all that you are doing to heal our wounded world.   And we bless you and all of us, all the beings who breathe the Breath of Life and drink the Waters of Life, of healing and rebirth – for a year of rivulets.  

Shalom, salaam, sohl, paz, 평화 pyeonghwa, peace – for all us human earthlings and for all of Earth. --  Arthur

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