Rabbi Sandy Sasso: A new start for our hopes and dreams

January has been a month of beginnings, the start of a year, a newly elected Congress, inaugurations of governors and the President of the United States.  Every new beginning brings with it both trepidation and hope.

We fear the unknown, the possibility that forces beyond our control will make tomorrow bleaker and darker than today.  If our favored candidates lost the election, we despair that new leadership will not match our dreams.  Even if our preferred candidate won, we wonder whether in a contentious and polarized atmosphere any promises can really be kept.

Yet doubt is also matched with hope.  There are new opportunities, lessons learned, a better future envisioned.  We can start again.

It is, of course, possible to be cynical, to believe that government will never rise above self –interest and political bickering, that party takes precedence over principle, controversy over common goals.

But it is also, and I believe, far better, to be optimistic, to believe that leaders can learn wisdom, put public good over private interest and can broaden vision to embrace the well-being of all citizens.

Theodore Herzl, a Jewish visionary, once said, “If you will it, it is no dream.”  However, will is not enough.  First you have to dream it.

I share with you the words of hope and the dream that were part of my benediction at the inauguration of Governor Mike Pence.

We join with citizens across the State of Indiana,

diverse in culture and faith,

yet united by a common destiny,

and by the understanding that the good of all

depends on the good of each and every citizen.

May the One who is the Source of all Blessings, bless our governor with strength of mind and vigor of body

and guide him with wisdom and humility.

May Governor Pence make the word Hoosier mean not only hospitality but also vision, that our state be a heartland flourishing with arts and culture,

a crossroads where jobs are plentiful, education superior, the environment protected and the health of all citizens a priority.

May our leaders be strong enough to stand for principle and wise enough to seek compromise;

May they embrace the public good and affirm individual freedoms;

May they affirm what is right and just in a spirit of caring and compassion.

From the banks of the Wabash to the star atop the flame of the torch of liberty,

from the limestone quarries to the fields of corn,

from cheers for our sport teams to applause for our symphony and theater,

from the halls of our museums to the classrooms and laboratories of our schools and universities,

from business offices to factory floors,

may we all be proud to call Indiana our home.

May we who have been blessed to come to this time and place,

now go forth and be a blessing.

The quote popularly attributed to the famous German writer, Goethe reminds us:  “Are you in earnest? Seize this very moment. Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it.  Boldness has genius, power and magic in it.”

We are in earnest.  This is the very moment to hold our elected officials accountable to the dream of America and to partner with them in making magic for the year ahead.