Heritage Florida Jewish News - Central Florida's Independent Jewish Voice

Rosh Hashanah greetings from Chabad at UCF


September 11, 2020

Rabbi Chaim Lipskier (l), Rivkie (second from right) and their children outside UCF Student Union.

As Rosh Hashanah approaches campus life is in full swing. Mezuzahs are going up in the dorms, the smell of Chabad's weekly BBQ wafts through the air, and students across campus look forward to Shabbat Dinner.

There is something different this year. The BBQ is now socially distanced, the Shabbos meals are "to go," and the Mezuzah delivery comes with masks and gloves. Chabad continues to be there for our students, but there's no question the year is unique.

This past year has been a year of social distancing, pandemics, tension and fear. Many are looking with apprehension at the coming holidays wondering what next year will bring to the world.

There is a common misconception about Rosh Hashanah. Many people think it's the birthday of the world, celebrating the first day of creation.

In fact, Rosh Hashanah celebrates the sixth day of God's creation. It doesn't celebrate the creation of light or land or sea. It's commemorating the birthday of man and woman - of you and me!

If Rosh Hashanah was about looking back at what happened in the world last year and planning for the year ahead, this year's high holidays would be an impossible task.

Thankfully, Rosh Hashanah is a lot more personal than that. It's about each and every one of us, and our role in the world.

This year has had more than its share of darkness, with illness, injustice, antisemitism and pain. At times like this we must remember the words of our personal mentor and the foremost leader of world Judaism in the modern era, the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, that in a place of darkness a small light shines greatly.

We have an opportunity like never before to be that light for our families and for our communities. We can look forward to the coming year not with apprehension of possible upheavals, but excitement for opportunities to uplift.

Many of us will put on a mask this Rosh Hashanah and go to the park or our new outdoor shuls, and listen to the Shofar.

The Shofar's call is intended to wake us up and move us to Teshuva or to return to our truest selves, connected to Hashem.

When we return home we will take off our medical masks, and perhaps we will also take off the masks that we've worn for years. This year we can heed the Shofar's call to wake up from some of the unnecessary distractions that had filled our lives and to concentrate on what is truly important: our family, our community, and our personal growth. If we do so, we will go into this coming year with the ultimate protection: a vaccine from despair and hopelessness and a knowledge of the effect we can have on the world.

If we can march into this new year renewed, revitalized, and reconnected to our souls, then no matter what this coming year brings, we will greet it with light and positivity and it will truly be a year of blessing.

To learn more about Chabad at UCF visit jewishucf.com or call 407-310-8876.

Rabbi Chaim and Rivkie Lipskier

Chabad UCF Directors


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