On my parent’s tombstone are the words, “In Proud and Glorious Memory”. I was asked why I had chosen those words, which are usually used for soldiers who die in battle. I replied that they were soldiers, and their whole lives were a battle. Against ignorance, poverty, prejudice, fought in the back streets of the East End as well as the leafy suburb of Ilford. My father came to England aged twelve, having walked from Poland because he only had enough money for the channel crossing. My parents won their battle, and I am the symbol of their victory.
In the Rosh Hashanah amidah are the words, “This is the appointed day when the deeds of each person are measured”. How much do I measure? Not very much. When I was young, and would rail against this or that injustice or stupidity, my father would smile indulgently and say, “One woman cannot change the world”. He was right, of course. But one woman in every town, working under central direction, with access to the media and the internet, could certainly change the world. Don’t despair because you cannot change the world. Concentrate on changing your little bit.
Wishing you all a Happy, Healthy and Peaceful New Year.