YM&YWHA of Washington Heights & Inwood

Rosh Hashana — On New Beginnings

Ask a mom-to-be what she’s doing the day after her due date, and you might get a wry smile. She doesn’t know. Baby’s birth date remains a mystery until the last minute, and she might not know if she’s having a girl or a boy. 

On the eve of the Jewish New Year, it’s a good reminder that none of us knows what the future holds. While waiting for baby is an incredible and unrivaled time of anticipation, the dawn of any new year—whether the school year, Rosh Hashanah, or a milestone birthday—is filled with much mystery and wonder. New hopes and dreams abound, as much as little worries might try to sneak in. 

When the stories of our future selves haven’t yet been written, all good things seem possible. Everything is within our grasp. As parents-to-be, when we hear our babies take their first breath, and their long-awaited cry pierces the air, we all cry out for the joy of new beginnings, both for our children and for ourselves as new parents. 

Whether you’re waiting for a baby or another type of new beginning, we wish you a sweet and healthy new year. And if you are awaiting a newborn, or watching your little one grow up, come join us at the Y Beginnings Parenting Center. 


Rosh Hashana, the beginning of the Jewish New Year, is a time for introspection, a time for thought, a time for celebrating milestones, a time for recommitment to our goals, and a time for redefining our purpose. Rosh Hashana is the time where we gather as a community and as an individual, and celebrate integral themes of solace, peace, joy, and good health for all. These are ideas that extend beyond the scope of religion and touch all of humanity. We hope for a year of peace and success starting within the home, and expanding to our community, our country, and our world.  

We look forward for the receiving of blessing and fortitude, and that whatever hardships or setbacks we’ve experienced in the preceding year be modified to enact a more positive outcome. Our paths towards these supplications and requests can be enhanced through our thoughts and actions, and through acts of good deeds and kindnesses. Donate some money to a meaningful charity, prepare a meal for a sick neighbor, or simply say hello to a stranger in the street. We often lose sight of how deep an impact our seemingly insignificant actions can make.

Most of all, we look forward to coming together as family. Whether it be blood, social, or geographical, the word “family” can take many forms. It is up to each and every one of us to define this word for ourselves, plant the seeds, nurture our relationships, and watch our families blossom into the most beautiful and integral parts of our lives.

We at the Y would like to take this moment to extend a sincere happy new year to all of our members and friends that make up our family. Let this time of year be a celebration of new beginnings and a celebration of family & community for all. Each and every one of you makes us who we are, and we are so thankful that you allow us to take part in your life. May we be inscribed for a year of sweetness, a year of happiness and a year of celebration, and may the year 5776 usher in peace and tranquility for all.

By Mara Bragg, Y Beginnings Parenting Center Director

About the Y
Established in 1917, the YM&YWHA of Washington Heights & Inwood (the Y) is Northern Manhattan’s premier Jewish community center — serving an ethnically and socio-economically diverse constituency — improving the quality of life for people of all ages through critical social services and innovative programs in health, wellness, education, and social justice, while promoting diversity and inclusion, and caring for those in need.

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