There can never be forgiveness if we do not first admit our mistakes. Racism is a sin for which we have never atoned. It is a grave injustice that must be addressed before we can ever truly move forward as a nation. Apologies are not excuses, but they are a good start on the road to repentance.
As Jews worldwide mark the holiday that begins at sundown, my Facebook feed has been filling up with "friends" issuing blanket apologies to me and the rest of the Facebook for however they may have offended us.
In the midst of the 10 Days of Awe between the New Year and the Day of Atonement, I take on the practice of surveying my relationships and looking to improve them. But just as I am trying to open my heart, a figure from my college days keeps appearing before me on media outlets.
There's no denying that we all enjoy the universals of celebrations -- the good food, the family members getting together and sharing embarrassing stories -- but a holiday with different customs can be unpleasant without some effort to be a part of it.
When those of us who have dedicated our lives to promoting a Godly vision of the world even appear to subvert others, we slowly (or immediately, depending on the gravity of the action) destroy that which we purport to elevate: God.
Every year between Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur, I promise to have a better filter, to be more discreet, to just shut up. These are the days of Awe, but I think of them as the days of "Aw," as in, "Aw, why on earth did I say that?"
Is it really such a healthy thing to feel oneself to be inadequate, judged and deficient? Does it make us better people, or does it make us more judgmental ourselves? And does God judge us, or only love?