Happy Rosh Hashanah from Highland Park Patch
Your Patch editor shares a High Holy Days story about his parents, synagogue and the importance of animal rescue.
A few years ago, my parents were pulling out of their driveway to head to syagogue on Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish new year, when they heard a thud.
They looked beneath the car and saw my dad had run over one of our cats. Ordinarily pretty unsympathetic towards the animals my mom took it upon herself to care for, my dad was adament about getting this cat to the animal emergency room.
"I can't have this on my conscience going into the new year," he told my mom.
So they took the cat to the vet, where her broken back was set. My mom spent the next few months moving the cat onto her litter box and towards her food and water bowl, and soon she was totally healed.
And my dad was relieved.
The high holy days are upon us -- the Jewish new year began on Sunday evening and Yom Kippur, the Jewish day of atonement, begins next Tuesday. Though I'm not a religious person, I do get something out of this time, during which my family turns their minds (and nudges me to do the same) to things they've done in the past year, things they wish they'd done and things they'd still like to do.
Most importantly, they think about things they'd like to do better, and things they wish they hadn't done at all. Yom Kippur is all about atoning, about putting yourself in other people's shoes and thinking about how things you've done have affected those around you.
And while the last thing I want to do is use the High Holy Days as an opportunity to get preachy, I do feel compelled to say that I hope Patch readers will use this time for the same sort of meditation. There's been a lot happening in Highland Park the past few weeks. Tragedy struck earlier this month, when a car crash left three injured and one 5-year-old dead. It also left two families reeling and the whole community wondering how this could happen.
Many residents have been actively getting involved, leading memorial walks, starting fundraisers and offering food and assistance to the victim's family. As awful as this crash was, it has illuminated just how invaluable a strong sense of community can be.
It's my hope that Patch commenters can join me in focusing on the value of that strong sense of community going forward. It's easy to point fingers in the comments on the site, to be argumentative and confrontational. It's a lot harder to hear someone out, to put yourself in someone else's position and really try to sympathize with someone else's point of view. (The way I first learned to do this was from reading To Kill A Mockingbird, the novel Mayor Nancy Rotering said stopped her in her tracks when she first read it growing up in Highland Park.)
I hope that, going forward, commenters will try to make more of an effort to make the comment section of Patch a conversation rather than a screaming match. It won't be as easy and, for some, it might not be as fun. But if the community on Patch could even come close to the overwhelmingly can-do spirit that the community at large has shown since Labor Day, well, I think the site would be a better place because of it.
Enjoy the holidays, for those celebrating. Be careful when you're pulling out your driveway to head to services.
And, as always, thank you for reading.
Editor, Highland Park Patch