Dear Brother/Sister,

You and I are members of the same family. We are part of the same people, branches of the same tree. You and I, at some point, many generations ago, had common ancestors, Abraham and Sarah. And to the converts among us, you have become fully a part of this family as well. We are all interconnected, we are all unified.

And yet, we are drastically different. You and I probably disagree on many things. I am Orthodox, you may be Reform, Conservative, any other kind of Jew. I have right-wing views, yours may be more right-wing or more to the left. I live in Israel, you may live in the diaspora. I support the State of Israel and its actions, you might not. And I hate ketchup, and you probably put it on your french fries.

You might be an atheist, and I believe in God, you may think our tradition is oppressive, while I find it liberating.

You and I are, at first glance, worlds apart. But no matter what or who or where you are, you are still my brother/sister. You are a part of my family, and somehow, in some inexplicable way, I love you, I appreciate you, and I want to think the best of you.

As such, I call upon you to do the same for me and for every Jew around you, maybe even every person. Think positive thoughts, break down the walls. Let not your emotions, opinions, beliefs stand in the way of something which should exist regardless- your love for others. Often we hold grudges and we don’t want to let our walls fall. We’d rather keep the negative feelings flowing, let them see the light of day as opposed to the positive feelings we possess deep inside our hearts. Let them go, let them flow out of your heart. The negative will only make this world a darker place, while expressing your optimism, your positive outlook, will only help illuminate the world and the citizens thereof.

This is not only a call of forgiving, but a request for forgiveness. I ask that you forgive me for my judgment of you and your beliefs. I ask your forgiveness for the times I mocked those of your ideology, those with your way of life, those with your culture, for the times I mocked your customs, your attitude, your feelings, your origins, for the times, I didn’t smile on the subway, for the times I didn’t pick up the bags you dropped, for the times I could have asked how you were and decided I had better things to do. I ask that you forgive me, as hard as it may be, if I hurt you, physically or emotionally, or if I insulted you, or if I expressed myself in a way that caused you pain. My pride, my belief that I am right, if not more important than your right to respect. Maybe you aren’t wrong, I just can’t yet see how you are right. And if that’s the case, again, I beg your pardon.

Because, as hard as it may be, I am also trying to forgive those around me for all of the above.

As this year comes to an end, let your negative feelings about everyone around you and about all the people in your life end as well, so that this next year is full of positive energy, light, and love, in place of all the darkness we see around us at all times.

LeShana Tovah Tikatev/i VeTechatem/i.

My Best Wishes for a Fantastic Year.

Your Brother, Noah.