Done! The High Holy Day season is over. The past weeks were exciting and exhausting, we were taken to spiritual highs and grounded again, we shared joy and we gave comfort to another when sadness overcame us. We (I) were nervous about new things, such as the new prayer books, and we felt safe in the tradition that gave us a strong framework for the new.

And now, what comes now?

 Are we really done, back to “normal”? I am not so sure about that. Now we are given the time to act upon those things we reflected on during the High Holy Days, now we walk the different paths we promised to follow during the Vidui (confessional prayer), and now is the time to find out where we can help others or where we need help from others to achieve all those goals we have set for ourselves.

Perhaps the start of the new Torah cycle, beginning once again with Parashat Bereshit this Shabbat, will give us some support and hope in this endeavour. It seems to me that the Torah stretches out her hand to walk with us on our journeys, telling us of our ancestors and their lives, encouraging us to never give up when we are challenged.

The first words of our Torah come with their never-ending message that we are all equal in front of the Eternal, reassuring us that all steps count, no matter who takes them

For me, the weeks and months after the High Holy Days are a wonderful time, full of opportunities and new chances to grow, as individuals, and as a community.

May you all go from strength to strength in this new year.

Shabbat Shalom

 —Rabbi Adrian M Schell