J Street President Jeremy Ben-Ami was featured as this year’s first “Jewel of Elul” during the 29 days of Elul leading up to the High Holidays. Here’s his post on “The Art of Beginning… Again”:
The world is a little too full of “can’t” — and there’s not enough “why not?” What’s more frustrating than to be told a problem isn’t solvable or a goal unattainable?
My law school professors rewarded me for spotting issues and problems – but why not for coming up with solutions?
A good friend of mine pitched dozens of companies fifteen years ago with the design of a slim machine on which you could read books without paper. They laughed.
Trying and failing is no excuse for not trying again. Coming up with reasons not to take chances, passing the buck, pinning the blame on someone else, saying you can’t – that’s all easy. We tell our children to get back in the saddle when they fall off a bike, to get back in the batter’s box when they swing and miss. Why accept anything less as adults – in matters as important as life and death, war and peace?
Sure, we’ve all heard why Middle East peace can’t happen. How there are no partners. How everything was tried ten years ago and it failed. We’ve been told that those of us who believe are few and far between, and that our limited power can’t have an impact.
But why not?
Beginning anew means refusing to accept things as they are. It means believing that, with effort, the power of good can and will overcome the daunting power of the status quo.
New beginnings demand that we dream a better future and relentlessly ask “why not?”