Every year, Drew and I take time during our New Year celebrations to reflect on the year past and look to our hopes for the New Year. This has been a very challenging year for the world, the country and personally.

Our world, at times, seems to be imploding. Our country appears to be in a state of total upheaval and personal health issues have been taxing.

I have always loved the Christmas and New Year season. Even though I am Jewish, I relish the memories of singing in school choirs at Christmas concerts, festive decorations galore and the principle of “peace on earth, good will toward men.” To me, it is a joyous time, regardless of one’s religion, to be with family and friends.

I have wonderful memories of bundling our children up with toys for their entertainment on the plane, embarking on our annual trip to California to visit my dad. Often, it would be the only time during the year that they could spend time with their grandfather and it is memories of those trips that keep him alive in their minds since his passing.

It was the night before one such trip that Drew and I were awoken by our son screeching beside our bed in pure joy, “Wake up. Today’s the day we go to see Papa Morrie.” It was 3 a.m.!

There was an incident last week, reported briefly, then forgotten with all the “newsworthy” headlines deemed more important, that really struck me as an analogy of what I fear to be one of the greatest problems our country faces in this new year. While politically motivated, I think it speaks to a far greater problem than merely within the realm of politics.

As with our family, Ivanka Trump was traveling with her children for their annual family celebration of the season. I can imagine the excitement they all felt, having experienced it myself with my family. But, I am sure that the excitement was shattered when a man verbally accosted them as they boarded their flight. His words were filled with such vitriolic fervor, ranting about her father and her role in getting him elected; the flight crew removed him from the plane.

I can also imagine the horror this man instilled in her children. While too young to understand the meaning of his words, I am sure those babies cowered in fear from the vehemence.

All the hate — yes, hate — which is being projected in our nation on so many fronts, frightens me. Hate for minorities, hate for law enforcement and hate for anyone that doesn’t believe or think the way you do. And, politically, I don’t care for whom you voted. I don’t care what you may think of our President-elect; this kind of behavior simply cannot stand.

So, in wishing you a happy New Year; I also wish for our country a year of tolerance and understanding. Without it, I fear, the U.S. that I know and love will be forever changed.

Wendy J. Levenfeld is a published novelist, playwright and columnist. Send comments to wendylevenfeld@gmail.com. Visit Wendy’s website at www.wendylevenfeld.com.

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