Happy 5766

Today is Rosh Hashanah.   We are part of a downtown congregation called the New Shul.  Our Rabbi, Niles Goldstein, is a very progressive, bright guy who has written a variety of books and really pushes us to think.  I’m a big fan.  The community as a whole is experimental and innovative and hoping that their children get more out of religion than they probably did as a child.  I think the Rabbi and founders have provided that.  At least for me. 

Every year on Rosh Hashanah, he speaks to the community to think about changes that they can participate in over the 10 days between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur.  After his speech, he asks the congregation to participate in questions or just interesting points of observation about what he is talking about.  It is actually pretty cool and you get some very different perspectives.

Today he had us all sit through the Bob Dylan song "Blowing in the Wind" which was written in 1963. Afterwards he asked us to open our hearts to making change.  Change in a world that he sees as not exactly going in the right direction.  After all, he is a very politically motivated liberal.  When it comes to the war, the environment, the homeless, the Government.  You name, how can you make changes as a person.  That is the one thing I really love about Judaism.  Giving back and making change is a big part of the religion.  It is almost like Kennedy said "ask not what your country can do for you – ask what you can do for your country".  That is pretty much what our Rabbi is preaching.

So even though we all know the lyrics, I will share them here because reading them really makes you think considering that they were written in 1963 they are incredibly insightful today.  We all see what is happening but choose to look the other way.  Dylan explained the theme of Blowin’ in the Wind plainly, "Your silence betrays you".

Blowing in the Wind – Bob Dylan

How many roads must a man walk down
Before you call him a man?
Yes, ‘n’ how many seas must a white dove sail
Before she sleeps in the sane?
The answer my friend, is blowin’ in the wine,
The answer is blowin’ in the wine.

How many  years can a mountain exist
Before it’s washed to the sea?
Yes, ‘n’ how many years can some people exist
Before they’re allowed to be free?
Yes, ‘n’ how many times can a man turn his head,
Pretending he just doesn’t see?
The answer, my friend, is blowin’ in the wine,
The answer is blowin’ in the wine.

How many times must a man look up
Before he can see the sky?
Yes, ‘n’ how many ears must one many have
Before he can hear people cry?
Yes, ‘n’ how many deaths will it take till he knows
That too many people have died?
The answer, my friend, is blowin’ in the wine,
The answer is blowin’ in the wind.