Your guide to a sweeter new year in 5780

Ready for a clean slate? We Members of the Tribe are lucky to get a chance to start fresh every fall as the shofar sounds a wakeup call in each of our lives.

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Ready for a clean slate? We Members of the Tribe are lucky to get a chance to start fresh every fall as the shofar sounds a wakeup call in each of our lives. Back by popular demand--at least according to my mom--is my (sometimes) annual guide to a sweeter new year. L'shana tovah umetuka--To a sweet new year!

  • Default to kindness. One of my all-time favorite quotes is 'Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.' This quote, misattributed to others in the past, is believed to have been penned by writer Ian Maclaren. If you can remember nothing else in this list, remember that. Be kind to your teacher, neighbor, bus driver, and barista, too.
  • Invite a new face to your holiday table. Having people over for Shabbat dinner, your break-fast, or to join you in your sukkah  ? Consider inviting one or two new guests that you didn't invite in previous years. Whether or not they have another place to go, they will feel super welcomed, and the hospitable gesture is bound to make you feel happy, too.
  • Pause. We're surrounded by so much noise in our own daily lives, on our social media feeds, and blasting at us from the political sphere. While our lives are always going to be crazy busy and it's important to educate ourselves about what's going on in the world, take a few moments each day to be present.
  • Dwell less on the wrong stuff. There's an old Yiddish adage: "People plan, and God laughs." We spend a lot of time worrying about the things that in retrospect weren't things that we should have been worrying about in the first place. So maybe we should spend a little less wasted time fretting about stuff that we can't control. And yes, I realize this is easier said than done.
  • Say 'sorry' and let it go. 'Tis the season for atoning. So, before we embark on the new year, apologize to those you may have wronged this past year, but also forgive someone for wronging you. You'll feel lighter when you do.
  • Look up from your phone. Besides the practical benefit of avoiding an accident, life outside the palm of our hands is actually quite interesting. Stop looking down at your screen every once in a while and experience the real world. "Our goal should be to live life in radical amazement," said the great Rabbi Avraham Joshua Heschel. "Get up in the morning and look at the world in a way that takes nothing for granted. Everything is phenomenal; everything is incredible; never treat life casually. To be spiritual is to be amazed."
  •     Explore your roots. Ask your older family members to tell you stories about the people in your family tree--so you can pass those stories on to your own children one day.
  • Tell them. Why must it take a near-death experience or dramatic roadblock for us to take stock of our friends and family? Drop a note or have lunch with the people you care about and tell them what they mean to you.
  • Take a leap. Do something new in 5780. Branch out of your friend circle to meet some new people, take a Hebrew or hip hop class, sign up for a networking event, or visit a new place that you've never been to before--whether across town or across the world.
  •  Give thanks. Take a moment every single day to appreciate how lucky you are to be alive--that you have food in your belly, a warm bed to sleep in, freedom to be who you want, and loved ones who surround you.

"Be kind to your teacher, neighbor, bus driver, and barista, too. "



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