Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, begins tonight.

The holiday commemorates the creation of the world, as the talk show host Michael Medved explained on his website, “and we’re supposed to see that world with renewed eyes and enhanced gratitude.”

Jews are instructed to see the world as God did in the beginning. As Book of Genesis tells us, God created the Heaven and Earth, and saw it was good.

Everyone, Jewish or not, can benefit from such a pause and adjustment of attitude. Gratitude is far too scarce today. We tend to take so much for granted, we focus on the negative, and we too often fail to count our blessings.

You’ve heard the term “first-world problems.” Your internet took too long too download the file you wanted, Whole Foods sold out of the new hummus you wanted, you had to settle for the $250 seats for the big rock concert — while millions around the globe seek food, water and shelter to survive the day.

We should remember and feel grateful for how good we have it.

The Jews on the High Holy Days, Medved wrote, “see our world as refreshed and reborn: not just a ‘new year’ but a ‘renewed year’ — to begin again to make the most of the abundant gifts we’ve each received.”

What a beautiful commemoration each year.

I also admire the Orthodox Jewish practice of observing the Sabbath. Sabbath, or Shabbat, comes from the Hebrew word for “rest.”

From a few minutes before sundown on Friday to an hour after sundown on Saturday, observant Jews disconnect from the busy world and seek a time of calm reflection with loved ones.

No television, no internet, no cellphone, no radio; the house lit by candles. Families enjoy special meals and glasses of wine together.

Even if you are not religious, getting away from the nonstop allure of modern technology and the 24-hour news cycle would relax and refresh you.

It makes clear what matters in life.

A blessed and happy new year to all our Jewish friends.


Lancaster should finally do something to promote itself as the childhood home of Judy Garland.

Garland is about to become big again — not that she ever got small.

The Hollywood star who fell from the sky and died of a drug overdose 50 years ago is the subject of a new film. Titled simply “Judy,” the film stars Rene Zellweger as Garland in the final weeks of her life.

Oscar buzz already abounds — for Zellweger and the film.

Garland, nee Frances Gumm, lived in Lancaster as a child. Her father ran a theater, and the family at different times lived in two houses on Cedar Avenue, just south of Newgrove Street.

Many of us have been saying for years that the city should buy one of those houses and make it a museum.

I suspect devotees would come a long way to see the icon’s childhood home.

William P. Warford’s column appears every Tuesday, Friday and Sunday.

(1) comment

Bird House

What a great idea

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