A Rosh Hashanah message from David Sefton, MERCAZ-Canada President

Shana Tova

5778 has begun. Besides my normal wishes for a good and sweet year, I find myself feeling quite out of sorts these past few months and I do not believe I am alone. Thankfully Rosh Hashanah comes each year the first of Tishrei, and, as usual, it has come too soon. At least there are some constants in Jewish life to which we can cling.

During the last half of the year, so many events in the world have unsettled us. Talk of war on the Korean Peninsula, the political situation in the United States, the devastating climatic events in the world and Israel's attitude towards the Jewish Diaspora have each in their own way caused me concern.

While only some of these events have a MERCAZ connection, I find that that I am having great difficulty in predicting, with any knowledge, the outcomes of any of them. Consequently, where do I look for comfort and stability? It has to be to my faith, my religion and my synagogue. I have to push my natural cynicism to the background and embrace the commonalities that exist in these institutions in order that they provide me the stability in my life. It appears from my conversations this summer that I am not alone in my disquietude.

Religion and religious institutions have always done well when people cannot make sense of the events that surround them. This is one of those times. Whether at home in Canada or in Israel, our synagogues and institutions are stable and strong enough to provide comfort in these unsettling times. While local organizations support us here, we are assured that, through your membership in MERCAZ-Canada, MERCAZ Olami and the Masorti Movement worldwide, continue to work to ensure a Jewish and democratic Israel where all Jews feel at home.

So let us be grateful that Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, and Sukkot comes every year at the same time, and let me wish each of you a good and sweet 5778. We need the stability of the calendar even if we complain every year that we are not ready for it.

David Sefton
President, MERCAZ-Canada