Hi everyone – I’m Samantha Katz and a proud member of UNITY EARTH’s team! I’ve been working with UNITY EARTH since May to prepare and promote the wonderful events that took place during World UNITY Week and have since been staying connected to the community through our social media channels and keeping you all updated on upcoming events and daily inspiration.

A few days ago while having a chat with Ben Bowler, we noticed some amazing connections between UNITY EARTH’s initiatives and some Jewish traditions. As a proud Jew, I’m always excited and happy to discuss holidays, customs, and perspectives with others, so I thought I could share these thoughts with you all.

2 weeks ago, I visited my hometown in Massachusetts before embarking on my senior year of college. During my time home, my parents hosted a party and invited members of our synagogue’s congregation. This party’s more formal name is a Hakhel, which translates to “assemble” in Hebrew. Hakhels in the Jewish religion are celebrated every seven years to symbolically reunite as one and elevate our connection with G-d. During this time, it’s encouraged to have as many gatherings of unity as possible in preparation for when the Holy Temple in Jerusalem is rebuilt and the Moshiach (messiah) comes.

To the Average Joe, all of this boils down to our community’s desire to come together and embrace our spiritual connection to a higher power. This absolutely parallels UNITY EARTH’s overall mission through the efforts of the annual World UNITY Week, Peace Week, and 99 Days of Peace Through Unity. It’s beautiful to see how we, as a group of people from a variety of backgrounds, can come together in the same sake of unity to bring more spirituality, elevate one another, and overall improve our world.

On a similar note, I also shared with Ben how it’s a coincidence (or divine province when remembering everything happens for a reason!) that Rosh Hashanah – the Jewish “New Year” – and Yom Kippur – the “Day of Atonement” – land in the midst of UNITY EARTH’s Peace Week in mid-September. These High Holidays hold immense value to starting the Jewish year off with a fresh start and commitment to serving G-d with purpose and righteousness.

Just like the mission of UNITY EARTH with the continuation of Peace Through Unity and the upcoming Peace Week, we should aspire to spread our individual lights across the world through our initiatives. I like to think that we are all our own little candles and when we unite together to spread our love and kindness, our lights spread and brighten up the world.

With those few nods to Jewish tradition and my take on how they can connect to this amazing community, I hope you feel invigorated and ready to take on your missions and Peace Week and shine your light for a united world.