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What Do You Regret From the Past Year?

Service participants post regrets on our "Torah of Life"

photo by Tom Levy

To make Yom Kippur more real, each year Rabbi Bridget asks High Holiday service participants to write down --anonymously -- what they regret from the past year.

The responses are filled with heartfelt words of self-reflection, honesty, and even humor.


The traditional Yom Kippur prayers list wrongs we may or may not have committed. We read them aloud together so no one is embarrassed by reading just their own, as a way to jog our memories about those that might be ours, and as a reminder that we are all responsible to help one another make the right choices.

Below are some of the regrets that Jewish Gateways participants shared at High Holidays 2016. We hope this list will help you to recognize some parts of yourself, and also to have the comfort of knowing you are not alone in your struggles to do better.

We thank each participant for their honesty.

Realizing more how beautiful nature is.


Nicer to my family. More patience for my mother, uncle, husband. Be less judgmental towards children, friends, family. Communicate better my needs to others. Have a better, healthier lifestyle. Make myself happier. Better relationship with family, friends. Pay more attention.


I shouldn’t have raised my voice to people when I’m mad. I shouldn’t have been mean to my brother so much. – 7-year old


I have treated my children and husband with obvious irritation, and have not had enough patience with them, and have even on occasion treated them with disdain. I have not given myself enough sleep and exercise, the things that help me stay truer to the best that is within me. That not only punishes myself, but also my loved ones. – 45-year-old


I regret gossiping and speaking badly of others.


Raising my voice in anger to my family and not listening.


I regret wasting time.


Taking time to center –- meditate -– do tai chi. Standing up for myself without EGO, with wisdom, not pain. No more body shaming. Love this gift of a body!


I regret not opening my heart to others.


Didn’t set boundaries when needed to. Was harshly self-critical. Succumbed to hopelessness about the world situation, climate change, racism, and etc.


Not committing to my steps last year. Work on something each month to better myself.


I regret my crankiness and impatience with people close to me.


I should have given my son more space to be himself.


Be less stressed. Be appreciative of my health.


I regret working … and not making time … for having fun …


I regret not being a better friend to my spouse during a time of need. I can do better. I will do better.


I regret that I did not do more. I regret that I did not do less.


To follow my dreams, to have difficulty saying sorry.


I regret criticizing and nitpicking the people I love, instead of offering loving kindness. I regret not taking the time I need for myself to feel whole and spiritually alive. I regret the times I could have been generous with my love, time, support and money. I commit to doing better and being a more loving person in the year to come!


I yelled at my husband and kids out of frustration. I didn’t donate money to charities even when I felt called to do so. I stopped contacting a dear friend because my feelings were hurt that she wasn’t including me in her life. I was impatient with my mom.


I wish I could have paid better attention in class. And when my parents are giving me lectures.


I regret repeating myself too many times to my beloved son when I’ve become angry or frustrated with him. Saying it one time is enough! My mother did this and it made me feel awful.


Listened to my fear and self-judgment more than moving forward on goals that are important to me.


Totaling my car while not being mindful while driving-–being distracted and preoccupied by minor work-related worries that stirred up my core fears of not being valued. This put my safety and that of others at risk.


I need more order in my life.


Have more patience. Show more love to my husband and friends.


I am a mean and aggressive driver who yells at people and honks the horn too much. I would like to change that. How? Meditate. Listen to classical music.


To be outside more.  .להיות בחוץ יותר




Underearning. Hiding/not being more forthright re Airbnb. Avoidance. Wasting time, especially on Facebook. Stalling in saying yes to Alex. Not working steps.


The thought of returning to gainful employment has vanished, again.


I wish I had taken more steps to bring about social justice and do good in the world. Sometimes I was too lost in my own needs to be as good to others as I could have been.


Losing my temper with my son and with my mother.


I Regret … Clutching onto Negative Memories. Reliving them. Instead of Forgiving and Remembering all the Joy. Not being thankful. Not being able to forgive (myself and others).


I did not always speak up for others when they were spoken ill of –- that was not kind, it was not right and I owe it to myself and everyone else to change that.

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