Magazine article Tikkun

The Teshuvah Process

Magazine article Tikkun

The Teshuvah Process

Article excerpt

A Path for Spiritual and Social Transformation

This year, our whole society needs a period of repentance and atonement. We invite people of all faiths (including the many orthodox atheists) to use the Jewish spiritual practice of the Days of Awe to reflect on the way that we have gone astray as a society.

The Ten Days of Repentance and Atonement this year fall soon after the time when Americans will be involved in commemorating the fourth anniversary of September 11, 2001. Jews from around the world will gather in synagogues this Rosh Hashanah (beginning the evening of October 3 and going till dark October 5) and then again on Yom Kippur (starting before dark October 12 and concluding when darkness falls October 13).

Our goal with this period is to assess how close we have come to actualizing our potential as partners with God. We will look at what ways we have missed the mark and how we need to realign ourselves so that we may return to our highest spiritual mission.

It's likely that much of the American commemoration of 9/11 and the Jewish observance of the High Holy Days will be occasions for massive hypocrisy, denial, and collective delusions. Please write to us if you are part of a synagogue or any American community where people truly publicly reflect on the sins and distortions of their own community-precisely what the High Holidays are supposed to be about-rather than blaming everything on the evils of others. We'd like to print your accounts on our website at www.tikkun.org-so that others can learn from the example of how to take repentance seriously.

More likely, however: In American society you will hear appropriate affirmations of all that is good in America mixed with nationalist chauvinism, justifications for further repression of civil liberties, evasions of the many lies told to the American people to justify the need for an immediate war with Iraq, and misuse of the war against terrorism to justify military aggression against countries whose regimes we abhor. There will be little consideration for how a path of generosity by the United States could be used effectively to undermine the desire of many to strike out at the richest country in human history. Few American leaders will use this period to ask what America can do to rectify the damage that global capital has done to the social, ecological, and spiritual environments of the world's peoples. Similarly, in our synagogues, you'll likely encounter rabbis and communal leaders showing no acknowledgement of the sins of the Israeli Occupation: torture, house demolitions, and killing of Palestinians (all documented at www. …

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