Yesterday I was only allowing myself to hope. Today I am filled with hope. My faith in our country is restored. To witness a Black man with a Middle Eastern name become president is remarkable. You do not need to be schooled in history to appreciate this moment's significance. Given how unlikely this moment was--even one year ago--gives me renewed hope that anything is possible. I was especially stirred by Obama's words as he hearkened to the cadence of the Bible and called us to take responsibility for our future. This country, like our Jewish tradition, was once built on responsibility and action. It will be rebuilt on these ancient truths. "In reaffirming the greatness of our nation, we understand that greatness is never given. It must be earned." Amen! I especially applaud our president's warning to our enemies. "And for those who seek to advance their aims by inducing terror and slaughtering innocents, we say to you now that, 'Our spirit is stronger and cannot be broken. You cannot outlast us, and we will defeat you.'" Even more important than this warning to others were the numerous calls for our country to return to its ideals. Fear has eroded our values. Terrorism succeeds when we allow it to destroy our greatest treasures--the values on which our nation was founded. "As for our common defense, we reject as false the choice between our safety and our ideals." Amen v'Amen! I sense our country is once again ready to rekindle its spirit and work to a better future. Today I believe Maya Angelou's assessment in Sunday's Washington Post may be correct. Our new president is the "real deal." He is a man of great intelligence, ability, depth of character and devotion. I am inspired by his words. "Our challenges may be new, the instruments with which we meet them may be new, but those values upon which our success depends, honesty and hard work, courage and fair play, tolerance and curiosity, loyalty and patriotism--these things are old. These things are true. They have been the quiet force of progress throughout history. What is demanded then is a return to these truths. What is required of us now is a new era of responsibility..." Kein y'hi ratzon--may it be so!