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When we really begin a new year it is decided,

And when we actually repent it is determined;

Who shall be truly alive, and who shall merely exist;

Who shall be happy, and who shall be miserable;

Who shall attain fulfillment,

And who shall not attain fulfillment;

Who shall be tormented by the fire of ambition,

And who shall be overcome by the waters of failure;

Who shall be pierced by the sharp sword of envy,

And who shall be torn by the wild beast of resentment;

Who shall hunger for companionship,

And who shall thirst for approval;

Who shall be shattered by the earthquake of social changes,

And who shall be plagued by the pressures of conformity;

Who shall be strangled by insecurity,

And who shall be stoned into submission;

Who shall be content,

And who shall wander in search of satisfaction;

Who shall be serene, and who shall be distraught;

Who shall be at ease and who shall be afflicted with anxiety;

Who shall seem poor in their own eyes,

And who shall be rich in tranquility;

Who shall be brought low with futility,

And who shall be exalted through achievement;

But repentance, prayer, and good deeds

have the power to change the character of our lives;

Let us resolve to repent, to pray, and to do good deeds

so that we may begin a truly new year.

Adapted by Shamai Kanter and Jack Riemer from Stanley Rabinowitz’s version of Un’taneh Tokef