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Everyone has something they regret. (image via http://techneur.com/post/2315611963/regret-minimization-framework)
"It's the season of spiritual inventory and self-reflection. What do you regret? What aching, burning yearning or deep guilt has trailed you for years? Be brave. Reflect & write."
And with this writing prompt, IKAR asked members - as they do every year - to reflect on the year gone by, and submit personal stories on a particular theme; these essays and paragraphs are then published in a book distributed at IKAR during the High Holidays, providing an additional opportunity for congregants to connect with renewal, repentance and change. In 2011, it was Epiphany. In 2012, it was Courage and Cowardice. I missed participating last year. And this year, IKAR members were asked to tackle the subject of Regret. My submission is below. Wishing you all a reflective, inspiring, healthy and peaceful new year.
Regret is a trap. You regret things you've done, or according to the adage, you mostly regret the things you don't do, the possibilities that came your way but which you were too scared, cautious, or irresponsible to pursue. But if my regret had a Facebook relationship status, it would be a solid "it's complicated."
I regret things I have done and things I haven't done, words I have said, and words I haven't said. I regret trusting too much and not trusting enough. In alternating dramatic moments, I regret nothing - I am staunch, resolute and strong; and I regret everything - I am ashamed, humble and penitent.
Communally, we catalogue our annual regrets in the language of liturgy, in rituals meant to mimic release - of guilt, anger, sin and regret. But as we stand at the bank, we pitch our iniquities into water, watching waves carry them forward toward a horizon. But it's not long before those same waves return sins to sender; the crumbs land at our feet, nudging at our toes, saying "your sins have been returned for additional processing." This is the way of waves.
Regret is that same trap, the surf that ebbs and flows, always receding and always returning. We can let the regret possess us, control our past guilt, obsess our thoughts in the coming year. Or we can let it guide, instruct, but not dominate what we do from here on in. As the musical says, "forget regret, or life is yours to miss."
Tonight is Rosh Hashanah, the start of the new Jewish year - it's been a bit of a crazy year for me, as my return to freelancing has landed me with great companies and organizations, like Pictures From the Fringe (follow us on Facebook & Twitter), G-dcast (check out eScapegoat & SinfulGoat) & ELI Talks (check out this talk about God and this one about hacking Judaism), among others. I'm also relaunching EstherK.com with fresh content coming soon, and am starting to put together a newsletter to share helpful social media tips, interesting articles and things I've written, so stay tuned.
This coming year is 5775, which I realized a few weeks back is a palindrome. Since I missed all the fun with 2002 (no one was really allowed to have fun that year) and don't remember why I didn't figure this out in 1991, I decided to pay tribute to this special occasion by playing around on Imgur.com. (This is obviously a tradition that dates back to rabbinic times.)
Below are some of the results of this experiment, with apologies to Girls, The Simpsons, It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia and Frozen. Wishing you and your families a wonderful new year, of health, happiness and humor.
As some of you know, I work part-time at Pictures From the Fringe, a small production company based in Los Angeles - PFTF co-founder Salvador Litvak recently conceptualized and directed a music video for IKAR, an innovative progressive spiritual community in LA, to help celebrate their 10th birthday. Many of us spent the entire day on set downtown, herding people and being herded by other people, having our wardrobes adjusted and our scenes blocked. The result was a joyous video with inspiring music that heralds the arrival of the High Holidays season...
How many familiar faces can YOU spot? (More info on the video after the jump.)
“Hallelujah” is a vibrant and joyous video with music by Judeo, a music project fronted and crafted by "rock cantor" Hillel Tigay. Tigay created mesmerizing tunes that IKAR uses for the High Holidays and year-round; the Judeo sound is an eclectic blend of Tigay’s past influences – the 7 years of music he has been making for IKAR and his past as a pop musician.
Over 100 people are featured in the video, including IKAR members and friends, spanning the age spectrum and reflecting the diversity of the IKAR community as it prepares to celebrate both the arrival of the High Holidays and IKAR’s 10th birthday.