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Hopes for a New Year from Rabbi Anna

Shema Koleinu.

In prayer we say we plead that our voices be heard.

Shema Yisrael.

In prayer, we are called as a collective, to listen with such full attention that we close our eyes. So too in our friendships and our studies, we seek to be heard and known, while also giving time to carefully listening to and considering the perspectives held by peers and scholars.

The diversity of the opinions present on our campus allows us to increase the breadth of our wisdom while also providing us with a setting in which we can concretize and construct our own perspectives.

Our tradition teaches that Rabbi Hillel’s students carefully studied the arguments of his rival. (Babylonian Talmud, Eruvin 13:b). Sharing this approach towards learning, Aristotle states, “It is the mark of the educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.”

This year, may we be able and willing to truly listen to the thoughts of others. May we approach them with consideration. May our wisdom be expanded and our convictions and beliefs grow and be strengthened. May the loud sustained sound of the Tekiah Gedolah invite us to increase our efforts to hear, and may our own voices be heard, in heavens and on earth.

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