By Rabbi Rick Sherwin

“People prefer remembering to imagining. Memory deals with familiar things; imagination deals with the unknown. Imagination can be frightening – it requires risking a departure from the familiar.”

With these words, Israeli political visionary Shimon Peres reminds us that we have two choices: we can look back and remember what was – for better or for worse – or we can use our imagination to fuel the process of Tikun Olam, transforming the world from the way it is to the way it ought to be. To me, the world in which we live needs a lot of imaginative work…

I continue to draw inspiration from Robert F. Kennedy’s famous message: Some people see things that are and ask, “Why?” I [imagine] things that never were and I ask, “Why not?”

I know that many join in the prayer that 2020 will usher in a decade of civility and receptiveness, a decade that will see violence diminish and respect for each other increase, a decade that will be driven by dignity more than the dollar, a decade in which the world will respond to the next generation’s plea to take care of the earth’s resources.

We need to enter the 2020s as a decade of imagination, asking ourselves, “Why not?” We must carry with us an open mind and the willingness to laugh at ourselves, and the resolve to work together to, in the words of Captain Jean-Luc Picard, “Make it so!”

Rabbi Rick Sherwin, a Longwood resident and graduate of UCLA, was ordained by the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York. Rabbi Rick’s passion is filling spiritual services and interfaith educational programs with creativity, relevance, dialogue, and humor.


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