It’s that Hallmark Time of the Year

shana tovaBy an anonymous regular reader

I said it last year, and I’m saying it again – I’m not interested in your kind greetings, your heartfelt blessings or your blithe email hopes for a healthy New Year. And if you thought I was joking, if you thought I was just being cute, well, think again. You’re wasting my time. You’re wasting my headspace. The world is even more shattered since last year – refugees dragged lifeless from the angry seas, rampant, random shootings, broken lives everywhere, but you’d never know it from the chirpy, bright graphics and naïve words of optimism that have been delivered to my inbox throughout the last few days – hundreds of Shana Tova messages, and they all get the ‘delete button’ treatment. These e-cards are a cheap shot at establishing a connection, a dubious communications strategy to promote a cause and considering the personnel and time involved, an economic and psychological burden on the organization.

Rosh Hashanah is a wonderful opportunity to pause, reflect on your relationships, think about your Jewish aspirations and pledge a commitment to a meaningful life in the year to come. However, Jewish organizations are so busy competing with each other, trying to impress their donors and branding their product that the Jewish holidays have simply been instrumentalised as another marketing opportunity, employing Jewish motifs and cliches in superficial ways.

But there is an alternative, and I suggested it last year but to no avail, so I’ll try again. My idea is so simple yet, ground-breaking: if you’re really thinking of me, send me a thoughtful email – just a few lines will do, surprise me with a spontaneous phone call – even if it’s been a year since we last spoke, or send me a friendly text with few kind words – but make sure it’s not a cut and paste job because I can tell. And if you really want to be retro, pick up a pen, write a note, buy a stamp and send me a letter. I promise to reply.