As most of our Jewish readers know, the High Holy Days have come and gone. A time of personal reflection and mediation, the High Holy Days encapsulate all that we hope to accomplish for the year. It’s a time to rally around the virtues of the community, and move forward thoughtfully with patience and hope.
One of the many themes I gathered from both Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur services this year was that of forgiveness and the act of change. Our rabbi says humans are unique in that they are capable of change. While not exactly the most profound observation, what the rabbi is getting at is that with a little effort, we can adjust the physical and mental environment around us.
Most non-Jews (myself included) experience this desire to change sometime around the first of the year, when we all make those half-hearted attempts at altering an unfavorable aspect of our life. And without skipping a beat, we tend to forget our self-imposed promises in no time. So it would seem that contemplating change and forgiveness is more astute on the theological level than on a simple calendar level.
After I was done grilling myself, I considered change and forgiveness in our communities throughout North County. While we are nearly perfect, we do have room for improvement. I started a list.
We should change:
— The way we think of our cities. All too often a city is assigned unwavering personality attributes. With a little creativity and imagination, a city can become what we wish it to be. It’s happening right now in Carlsbad Village with wonderful results.
— How quick we are to develop our open space. Little by little, it’s all disappearing. We’ve seen what can happen when citizen support groups stand to oppose large land grabs. Make some noise!
— Our baseless, anonymous online attacks on ideas and dialogue. It happens repeatedly around here when a controversial issue is introduced or rehashed. Why is it difficult for intelligent, energetic people to keep an open mind? If you feel so strongly about a chosen topic, reveal your identity. Ask yourself if you would berate your neighbor in public like you do online (some of you hotheads out there need not respond).
— How much junk we dump in the ocean, and how much trash we leave on the beach. For a community who prides itself on cleanliness, we sure don’t treat our largest natural resource with much respect. A doctor once told me she never gets in the water because it’s too filthy. That speaks volumes to me.
— The way we think about driving. Personally, I could ride my bike to work every day, but I’ve yet to make the commitment. For some, it’s impossible or undesirable. For the rest of us who live where we work, let’s oil up those chains and start riding.
— The way we approach city projects such as the Leucadia Streetscape. Be gone with the bickering and personal attacks! There are many great ideas out there, and they all deserve attention.
— Our impact on the environment. We’ve been giving ourselves a big pat on the back lately, but we all know much more can be done. We have the momentum and the right frame of mind. All that’s left is implementation.
And we should forgive:
— Our elected local leaders from time to time, for they too are only human. But while we forgive, they should in turn focus on change. I call for more government transparency and no backdoor negotiations.
— Those who have wronged us in the past, either in business or personally. There are a lot of hurt feelings around town that need mending.
— Our unfavorable neighbors. Sometimes we just aren’t compatible.
— The jerk who cut me off on the 5 this morning. OK, maybe not him!
This in no way represents a comprehensive list. What did I miss?
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