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My Rosh Hashanah resolution(s)

Notable figures from the community, including Baroness Altmann, Jonny Wineberg and Rabbi Laura Janner-Klausner share their hopes and plans for the coming year

    (Getty)

    Baroness Altmann
    Political campaigner

    Speak whenever I can to support Israel in Parliament especially as the Balfour Declaration centenary approaches 

    Try to encourage more religious Jews to be tolerant of all other Jews regardless of their observance or beliefs. I feel it is vital for all Jews to respect and recognise each other. We have so many enemies and should not spend so much time criticising each other or alienating other Jews

    Work with others to help and support Jewish university students who so often face difficulties on campus

    On a personal level I resolve to keep supporting my mum when her health issues flare up and stay close to my family and friends even as pressures of life try to get in the way.

    Diane Samuels
    Playwright

    My new year’s resolution is to keep swimming regularly on Hampstead Heath through the autumn and winter as well as spring and summer and if I fall short then to forgive myself and keep going as best I can, and also to continue dancing every morning, too.

    Ephraim Borowski
    Director of the Scottish Council of Jewish Communities

    The past year has not been easy for any of us, so let’s all try our best to make the coming year better.

    Every year on the Shabbat before Rosh Hashanah, we read: “Behold I have placed before you life and goodness, death and evil… and you should choose life.” That’s not a bad aspiration, whether personally, for the Jewish community, for the Jewish people, or indeed for those among whom we live.

    Let’s all do our bit to make the world a better place where all can feel safe and secure, and “may the old year with its troubles come to an end, and the new year begin with blessings”.

    Jonathan Goldstein
    Chairman of the JLC

    For me, as we approach the Yamim HaNoraim, it is important to be introspective, to think about how to be a better person for family and community.

    As JLC chair, I resolve to focus the organisation on collaboratively tackling the challenges we face and meeting the long-term needs of our community.

    Rosh Hashanah reminds us that we, as Jews, rely on continuity and it is our job to ensure that we have a vibrant, engaged and committed community, inspiring our young people and caring for those in need.”

    Baroness Deech
    Academic and cross-bench peer

    1. To continue to press Poland for reparations for retained Jewish property stolen by the Nazis.
    2. Not to tweet between 10pm and 8am.
    3. Not to talk to columnists at parties.
    4. To limit my sudoku playing to half-an-hour a day.

    Rabbi Laura Janner- Klausner 
    Senior Rabbi to Reform Judaism

    Torah forces us to consider both blessings and curses. Sometimes I feel that my day-to-day struggle, as for many people, is to navigate my feelings of experiencing both blessings and curses.

    Last year in Britain we also felt both blessings and curses. We demonstrated resilience in the face of turbulent changes and terrorism.

    My resolution for 5778 is to enjoy the blessings that the Eternal, the source of life, has given us, has given me. My commitment, my resolution is to fully experience joys and blessings. I commit to bless the blessings and so to amplify them.   

    Jonny Wineberg
    Chair of executive, Jewish Representative Council of Greater Manchester and Region

    My main resolution is the same as my basic premise for my community activism, tikkun olam. Supporting the development of #WeStandTogether as a national charity will be a key focus, continuing support for interfaith work while building links with more diverse communities. 

    However, in order to do this I recognise the need to keep healthy. So I shall also be resolving to increase my exercise and manage my work-life balance better. After any colleagues reading this have stopped laughing, I shall need to have some serious discussions on cutting out at least a few meetings and responsibilities.

    Debbie Wiseman
    Composer

    This year I resolve to allocate specific time for emails and spend less time answering them during the day. So much time and energy can be wasted by the constant distraction of an email or a notification on the phone.

    It’s also important not to go to my computer just before bed and answer lots of emails. They can wait until the morning. 

    I also resolve to organise my clothes and hats — I have accumulated far too many clothes, and even more hats. I will keep the ones I love and wear often, and give the rest to charity where they’ll be enjoyed and worn regularly.

    Jonathan Arkush
    President of the Board of Deputies

    I take huge pride in the vast contribution which the UK’s Jewish community makes to the life of our country and the raised profile of the Board of Deputies in representing the community to government and the public.  

    We are also living in times of threat to our country’s physical security caused by violent extremism. Economic uncertainty is affecting us all and many are suffering financial hardship.  

    With these in mind, my resolutions are to speak up even more forthrightly in defending our community, to lead the Board in acting decisively in protecting our community’s interests, to be even more appreciative for the work of the police, security services and our dedicated CST volunteers and professionals and to give as much as possible to charities for Jewish and wider causes.

    What I want for our community is a little more graciousness in the way we speak to each other, especially when we disagree. We must keep in the forefront of our minds that far more unites than divides us, that all of us care deeply for the Jewish future and that people can express that care with the same sincerity and integrity in different and even opposite ways. We must respect others’ views even when we profoundly disagree and the language we use has to reflect that.

    Paul Anticoni
    Chief executive of World Jewish Relief

    I’ve never been very good at keeping new year resolutions but this year I’ve got two I simply must keep. The first is spending more time helping my daughters with their homework so I can help them pass all the exams they’ve got coming up. 

    And, professionally, I want to spend more time thanking World Jewish Relief’s supporters — whether they’ve donated their time or their money — who enable us to change so many lives across the globe. In fact, I think I need to find a way to say thank you to all 13,000 of our supporters personally. 

    Rabbi Jonathan Wittenberg
    Senior Rabbi of Masorti Judaism UK

    There’s nothing “new” about my new year’s resolutions. They’re summed up in the verse from Psalms: “Create me a pure heart, God”. I hope for God’s guidance to help me listen and not be insensitive; be kind and never cruel; generous and not selfish; and to help me open, not close, the doors of understanding, and work courageously for a world where all life is treated with respect. 

    I know I’ll fall short. That’s why my friends who know how much I love my dog tell me I should settle for trying to treat people as well as I treat him.

    Michael Goldstein
    President of the United Synagogue

    5778 is going to be an exciting year for me both personally and for the US as a whole. Personally, I’m resolved to live life to the full, balancing professional commitments with my family life and of course my presidency of the US. 

    As president, my number-one priority is to show our members the immense contribution that the US makes to their Jewish lives.

    Do you have a special goal for the coming year? Let us know about it on the JC Facebook page. 

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