According to the Jewish Calendar, today is the beginning of a new year. It must have been all the Jews rushing to temple that gridlocked traffic on the Westside as I was trying to reach my chicken and brisket dinner that, mercifully, is only served twice a year (I still can’t make the Ashkenazi Jews see the merit of Sephardic cuisine but I haven’t given up yet).

More importantly, the time of atonement, which culminates in Yom Kippur, is starting. The Spark notes of the Jewish tradition would sum these 10 days up as a time to look back on the year just past, recognize our sins and atone for them. Unlike Catholicism and the weekly need to confess to a priest, Jews take a less time-consuming approach – forgiveness is asked of God in a private and meditative manner, although it would be good form to apologize in person to those onehurt.

I find this Jewish tradition meaningful even if I don’t think God is listening, certainly not to this particular unbeliever. Having to confront my misgivings in one big bundle is an exercise in humility and ego re-sizing that I might need more often than once a year.

So, to those of you, close to me or utterly unknown, whom I hurt or offended with my big mouth, or with any acts big and small, I ask for your forgiveness. I especially would like to apologize for the hurt caused through carelessness and lack of awareness. The “I didn’t mean it” excuse is the most meaningless of all.

With a promise to be more awake and more in control of my mouth in the year to come, let me wish you a happy new year.



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