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Rosh Hashanah: A Time of Reflection

by Stu Jaffe, LCSW

Stu, edited, cropped

The approaching Jewish New Year, Rosh Hashanah, is a time of reflection; a time to seek forgiveness for those moments when we have fallen short over the past year; a time to release our own self-criticism and let go; a time to honor the sweetness of life and embrace life's abundance; a time to develop plans to do even better in the year ahead.

For too many that I encounter in my work each day, there is a tendency to hold onto personal criticism and difficulty in forgiving ourselves for our transgressions. Many of us have a hard time treating ourselves with the same degree of lovingkindness we aspire to show others. We ruminate on our failings, shortcomings and disappointments. This is a disservice and literally does us harm. It makes it difficult to live to our highest potential in this moment, and in the many moments that will comprise the year ahead.

 So how do we help assure the year ahead is one of great potential?

 - Spend time in quiet contemplation.

- Acknowledge the good that you have done in the past year.

- Start a gratitude journal for the coming year. It helps us remember the good facets of life that we may not recall as readily as our regrets.

- Develop a short list, perhaps three items, of regrets or shortcomings that resurface regularly.

- Establish a goal or intention regarding these shortcomings.

- Develop a plan to help you meet your goal. Write down your goal, potential obstacles and your plan for overcoming them.

- Celebrate and acknowledge your success as you accomplish each goal during the year. Add each success to your gratitude journal.

- Consider a new goal to replace each one you accomplish.


If you still struggle to achieve success with these strategies, consider partnering with a loved one or good friend or consider working with a professional counselor to benefit from the use of an independent value-added partner in this process.

In this month of Rosh Hashanah, I wish each of you a joyous start of the New Year ahead, personal lovingkindness and ample love within to share with others. L'shanah Tovah.


For more information about counseling from CJFS, visit our counseling page, email Stu Jaffe, 

or call 205.879.3438.