Local Jewish leaders share their New Year’s resolutions


New Year’s Eve would not be quite the same without a New Year’s resolution, and many members of Baltimore’s Jewish community have theirs at the ready.

The JT reached out to community leaders to learn what they hoped to accomplish in 2022, and these leaders shared personal and professional goals.

“In 2020, I vowed to work with our many friends and partners to create a better Baltimore for everyone,” said Howard Libit, executive director of the Baltimore Jewish Council. “As I think back over the past year, I would like to think that I made progress toward that goal. But I also can think of many places where I fell short, and I hope to apply the lessons I learned from this past year to my actions and decisions in 2022.”

Joel Frankel, executive director of the Jewish Federation of Howard County, doesn’t normally make formal New Year’s resolutions, he said, but he is constantly looking to grow and become inspired to do more.

“I think what I’m trying most in the new year to do is find balance between work and life,” Frankel said. “And then also professionally help my team do the same, where we can continue to do amazing work but also know that our families need to be our top priorities.”

Barak Hermann, CEO of the JCC of Greater Baltimore, said that one of his resolutions is to develop plans that will allow the JCC to thrive even amid an ongoing pandemic.

“Personally, I think my resolutions are to continue to just have deep gratitude for life’s blessings, and for health and family and friends,” Hermann added. “And my resolution there is to just continue to wake up every day and be grateful.”

Rabbi Susan Grossman of Beth Shalom Congregation expressed that, for Jews, New Year’s resolutions are most appropriate for Rosh Hashanah.

“But there’s nothing wrong with making a resolution for any time, at all,” Grossman said. Noting her plans to retire in June of 2022, Grossman explained that one resolution she has is to support whoever the congregation chooses as its next rabbi and to help her congregants make that transition.

Similarly, Rabbi Andrew Busch of Baltimore Hebrew Congregation also said that Rosh Hashanah was more his time for goal setting. He added that he has an annual goal “to be more patient, calmer and more understanding.”

For those who are having trouble coming up with a New Year’s resolution of their own, Libit recommended turning to the personal style one uses when setting goals.

“Do you do best when you set a checklist of specific actions to accomplish?” Libit asked. “Or do you do better when you set broader, aspirational goals? I would think about setting resolutions that fit your own personal style.”

Meanwhile, Frankel stressed that everyone needs to grow in their own time and sense.

“Rather than focusing on one specific item to change, focus on thinking about being in a change mindset and a growth mindset,” Frankel said. “And that will help you all year round and not just at one time.”

On this point, Grossman said she would offer the same type of advice she would during the High Holidays.

“What area of your life do you think focusing on can help you become better at?” Grossman asked. “And then choose something very specific, rather than amorphous or global, that could result in a particular action or changing your actions. So think small, think specific, would be my two words.”

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