Now Is the Time for Turning

As our world struggles with many crises at once, may this prayer by Rabbi Jack Riemer bring fresh inspiration to people near and far:

To everything there is a season, and there is an appointed time for every purpose under heaven. Now is the time for turning. The seasons change as does the balance of day and night.

The birds are beginning to turn and are heading once more toward the south. The animals are beginning to turn to storing their food for the winter. For the earth, for birds and animals, turning comes naturally, but for us, turning does not come so easily.

It takes an act of will for us to make a turn. It means breaking with old habits. It means admitting that we have been wrong; and this is never easy.

It means losing face; it means starting all over again; and this is always painful. It means saying: "I am sorry." It means admitting that we have the ability to change; and this is always embarrassing.

These things are terribly hard to do. But unless we turn, we will be trapped forever in yesterday's ways.

Dear God, help us to turn--from callousness to sensitivity, from hostility to love, from pettiness to purpose, from envy to contentment, from carelessness to discipline, from fear to faith. Turn us around, O God, and bring us back toward you. Revive our lives, as at the beginning. And turn us toward each other, God, for in isolation there is no life.


From New Prayer for the High Holy Days, edited by Rabbi Jack Riemer and Rabbi Harold Kushner, 1987.