A New Years resolution for 5761

The Jewish New Year is a time for introspection, to take stock, to ruminate, to turn inward and ask ourselves how we can better ourselves — and our world — in the coming year.

And if we hold up to our end of the bargain, so our tradition dictates, we'll be inscribed in the Book of Life — no small thing, to be sure.

But such inscription is not automatic. We must earn it. It is our own actions that will dictate whether we are worthy of the privilege.

So the obvious questions are: What are you going to do? What will your contribution be? In what way will your efforts at tikkun olam, healing the world, take shape?

The possibilities are endless, from the smallest to the grandest scale. There is much repair work to be done, in our own neighborhoods, in our own Jewish community, in the larger community, in our country, in our world.

There is no shortage of causes. What there often is a shortage of, in our busy lives, is time. But we must resolve to find it, because our faith commands us to do more than simply meet our own needs.

What is important is to find a cause that is meaningful to you, one that will make you feel you are truly contributing.

These suggestions are by no means all-inclusive. They are meant only to spark a few ideas. If none appeals to you, your nearest synagogue or Jewish agency will be glad to help out with further ideas. In fact, Jewish Community Information and Referral in San Francisco connects prospective volunteers to area projects.

Give blood; join the Jewish Coalition for Literacy; help with Habitat for Humanity; assist Jewish Family and Children's Services; volunteer for a political campaign; donate to a federation; raise money for AIDS or breast-cancer research; cook for a soup kitchen; be a Big Brother or Sister; help out in a shelter or youth center.

We are fortunate that our tradition presents us each year with the chance to make a fresh start. So let's not waste the opportunity. Let's find the time.

And then may we all be inscribed in the Book of Life.