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September 16, 2012

4 Rosh Hashanah resolutions

http://www.jewishjournal.com/blog/item/4_rosh_hashanah_resolutions/

Photo

Israeli Jews taking part in the Tashlich prayer, a Rosh Hashanah ritual, on the shores of the Mediterranean in Ashdod. (Photo: Reuters)

1. No predictions.

Back in 2007, I wrote a short post explaining why readers should never trust my predictions (if they ever did). The occasion was similar: Rosh Hashanah eve. And going back to my predictions from 12 months ago, I discovered that as predictions go, I got some right and many wrong. In the last two years matters have become worse: No one predicted the so-called Arab Spring, many predictions of a looming Iran attack proved wrong, an Israeli defense minister declared that Assad’s fall is a matter of “weeks” not “months” – that was in December of 2011 and the Syrian despot is still standing. My point is: except for cases in which I can back my predictions with hard data – see our Jewish House and Senate projections for such examples – I choose humility over humiliation. I do have an opinion as to who will get elected come November, but it is as good as everyone else’s. I do have a gut feeling as to whether an attack on Iran is likely next year, but again, it is not information worth sharing.

 

2. No predictability.

Some Rosner’s Domain readers seem confused by its lack of political consistency. I’m sorry, but that’s the way this Domain is going to be: mocking all sides when mockery is due, praising all sides when praise is due. There’s a place and a role for highly ideological writers, those for whom Obama can either do no right or do no wrong, to whom Netanyahu can either do no right or do no wrong, to whom it is always clear what needs to be done and what needs to be avoided. I read many such writers and often enjoy the zeal and the dedication. I’m also often struck by their lack of humor and self-awareness.

 

This Domain does not want to be predictable, it doesn’t want you to always know in advance where it’s going and what it’s going to say on each matter. This carries the risk of disappointing readers from right and left that are getting used to reading ideologically-friendly pieces and expect no surprises from those writers. We’re going to take this risk.

 

3. Not just politics.

Election years make us all see reality through a political lens. Instead of thinking about the merits of “red lines”, we think about Obama and the Jewish vote, we think about Netanyahu’s supposed attempts to assist Romney, we think about the role foreign policy plays in the way voters choose their leaders. Politics is fun, but has a tendency to make everything seem driven by the wrong factors. So – it is great to have another round of elections to write about. And it is very likely (Beware – prediction!) that Israeli elections will also take place in the coming year, and taking politics off the agenda is not on the cards, nor should it be. However, I’d be happy to also have more time to focus on issues that aren’t pure politics, and be able to write about issues without constantly having to consider a political angle. I think a window of opportunity for such politics-free writing will be available this coming year (because next year, another election cycle will begin).

 

4.  Not all work.

To be achieved next year: breaking some interesting stories…  having more friends on the Rosner’s Domain Facebook page… and more followers on Twitter… embarking on another book (you may not know, but my book on the Jewish vote will be released right after Rosh Hashanah)… traveling and meeting people (I will be in Florida, South Caroline, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Kentucky, Indiana, California – in October and November)… picking a couple of worthy battles… apologizing for hasty comments when necessary… enjoying my work as much as I enjoy it now… and, of course, all those personal wishes that we all have for ourselves and our families. These are the most important.

At the end of a year and a beginning of a new one, I would like to wish you all a healthy and happy new year.

L'shana tova

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