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Viewpoints: Hopes for the New Year

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Viewpoints is a SpokaneFāVS feature where our writers respond to a weekly question. Readers are invited to participate by posting in the comment section below.

A new year comes with a new beginning. We asked FāVS writers what they hope 2017 will bring.

What are your hopes for the New Year?

John Hancock: Make the world a tiny bit better

John Hancock

That people re-take the opportunity to fill their daily lives with meaningful duties, relationships, dreams, and conversation.  Too many of us have outsourced our imagination and hopes.  Mindfulness is not available on our devices.

That shared interest and commonalities among us, no matter our surface differences, can be re-learned.  It takes only a small thoughtful effort to turn towards friendliness and away from haste, fear, and self-absorption.
That Mr. Trump follows through on his promises to make life better for average Americans. And if he wants to make deals, perhaps we can make a petro-agreement with Russia and China, instead of continuing 100 years of futile wars over oil.
That even more people wake up to the importance of nature stewardship, by finding personal relationship with natural places that feed us in some feeling way.  That’s where preservation energy comes from, as antidote to our expansionist me-first tendencies.
That growth becomes less important in our planning.  We have enough.  Let’s work towards a healthier and fairer distribution, and less wasteful habit for what we already possess.
That each of us finds a springboard of some single thing that we can do happily, constructively, and generously, and use that tool to make the world a tiny bit better.  Other people will notice, and I think they’ll join in with a thing of their own choosing.

Neal Schindler: Family, Community, Faith

  • Neal Schindler

    I hope President Trump stays true to his characteristic inconsistency and fails to push for the worst of the policies he’s proposed on the campaign trail and since the election, including merciless crackdowns on undocumented immigrants

  • I hope to use Facebook less and read more books, and spend more time with friends
  • I hope to find an even better balance between work, rest, and family time
  • I hope to instill in my son, as he grows, the many important values my parents instilled in me, including compassion for the marginalized and oppressed and an unflappable belief in peace
  • I hope my neighborhood, West Central, sees even less crime and even more cooperation and bridge-building among neighbors
  • I hope Spokanites and people worldwide treat animals with more kindness
  • I hope to see a strong, organized, and consistent pushback throughout our country against the tide of hate — racism, Islamophobia, anti-Semitism, misogyny and sexism, homophobia, transphobia, and so on — that rose leading up to and following the election
  • I hope to develop an even better understanding of how faith works in the lives of people I care about
  • I hope to continue serving Spokane’s Jewish community in ways that truly benefit it, and to represent the community well to others in our area
  • I hope for a resurgence of fact-based, rational thought and action, to counter the surge of “post-factual” speech and behavior we’ve endured for too long
  • I hope to carve out more time to write for FāVS!


About John Hancock

John Hancock had a first career as a symphony orchestra musician and was a faculty member at University of Michigan. He has advanced degrees in music performance from Boston University and U.M.

Arts management was his way of problem-solving and expanding the public participation. He was orchestra manager of the Toledo Symphony, executive director of the Spokane Symphony and the Pasadena Pops and chief operating officer of the Milwaukee Symphony.

Currently he’s an Eagle Scout, a Rotarian, a liberal libertarian of an Iowa small-town self-sufficiency and was a conscientious objector during the Vietnam War. A childhood Methodist, he now instead pursues ideas of commonality among religions and philosophies.

Volunteerism in civic, political and social services work draws him to town from his forest home outside Spokane. Since 2006, his Deep Creek Consulting has aided non-profit organizations in grantwriting and strengthbuilding.

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About Neal Schindler

A native of Detroit, Neal Schindler has lived in the Pacific Northwest since 2002. He has held staff positions at Seattle Weekly and The Seattle Times and was a freelance writer for Jew-ish.com from 2007 to 2011. Schindler was raised in a Reconstructionist Jewish congregation and is now a member of Spokane's Reform congregation, Emanu-El. He is the director of Spokane Area Jewish Family Services. His interests include movies, Scrabble, and indie rock. He lives with his wife, son, and two cats in West Central Spokane.

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