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High Holiday Highlights: Part 2

09/27/2017 07:49:47 AM


September 26, 2017
by Cantor David Frommer & Rabbi Jessica Zimmerman Graf

Shanah Tovah! First off, thanks to all our friends, families, guests and congregants who joined us over the past week to celebrate the beginning of our holiday season. In conversations we have every week with prospective and current members alike, we always return to the same theme: the reason we love our synagogue is its people. When we gather together in sacred time and space to affirm our commitment to Judaism and to each other, we know the future of our synagogue abounds with possibility and excitement.

For information about Kol Nidre and Yom Kippur, and High Holiday highlights In case you missed something, continue reading:

The video of our S’lichot service with Jewish rock star Josh Nelson and Rabbi Lisa Tzur has now gotten 35,000 views nationwide, thanks to the post on Lisa’s Positive Jewish Living's Facebook page. Sherith Israel is officially on the map. (Click here to watch the video).  

As big as S’lichot was, Rosh Hashanah was even bigger! We welcomed over 1000 participants at both evening and morning services, including children of all ages in the sanctuary, from preschool to eighth grade. Our Tot Yontif service and community dinner on Rosh Hashanah evening were enthusiastically attended, and Rabbi Uri Regev delivered an eloquent and engaging sermon on Rosh Hashanah morning about the future of pluralism in the State of Israel.  If you are interested in learning more about the work he is doing, or adding your name to the letter he discussed in his sermon, you can find information here. Following services, Tashlich at the beach was terrific! We had the perfect weather for enjoying a delicious lunch and gathering on the sand to cast away our sins and start the New Year with a clean slate.  (Photo credit to Ingrid Apter)  




We are looking forward to continuing our holiday observance together. Kol Nidre is the only night of the year when we wear a tallit to services, so don’t forget to bring your tallit if you have one or borrow one of ours. Beyond a tallit, we encourage you to attend Yom Kippur services dressed in white clothes. This custom contributes to the sacred atmosphere of the day no less than the music or the prayers, and symbolizes the redemptive potential of t’shuvah, returning to God, as described by the prophet Isaiah: “Though your sins be red as scarlet, they shall be white as snow” (Isaiah 1:18). One traditional option is a kittel, like Cantor David will be wearing—a white robe representing a burial shroud—but in the absence of such specific garments, anything from a simple white shirt to a seersucker suit will do. We know it's after Labor Day but…

On Friday evening, we invite everyone in our community, but especially our young families, to our Tot Yontif at 5 pm—a lively service for the five and under crowd. At 7:30 we begin our adult services with the procession of our Torah scrolls into the sanctuary, accompanied by the haunting music of Kol Nidre. As is traditional, we’ll hear that familiar melody three times, but keep your ears open for the second of those three, when Alex Kelly, a CSI religious school parent, and professional cellist, will offer a creative musical interpretation of this familiar prayer. Please be prompt and take your seats quietly, as our choir will begin with a prelude from the dome, and the Torah scrolls will soon enter from the back of the sanctuary for a beautiful opening to the service. Cantor Emeritus Martin Feldman will chant a majestic setting of the Avinu Malkeinu prayer and we will join together in Vidui, the communal confession, as we dedicate ourselves to making next year a better year than this one.

Our Yom Kippur morning services will begin at 10 am on Saturday and we encourage parents to bring their children to our adult services. While we aim to maintain a prayerful atmosphere, we also believe that the inclusion of children in our services is the best way to build a new generation of Jews who feel at home in our historic sanctuary. Thanks to Nancy Sheftel-Gomes and Natalie Weizman, we will be offering alternate children’s programming in Newman Hall from 10:45 am until the end of services. This programming will feature experiential and interactive learning, involving text, art, storytelling and music.  We encourage families to move between the two spaces as necessary, but make sure not to miss what promises to be an inspiring sermon on this morning from our Rabbi Emeritus, Marty Weiner.

There are meaningful activities in the afternoon, including discussion sessions, services and an opportunity for personal reflection. Please check the schedule for all of the activities. Last—and definitely not least—please return at 5:45 pm to join us for Ne’ilah, the closing service.  It is the most beautiful part of the day! We invite all the children to join us on the bimah, along with anyone who has a shofar, as we conclude our long day with beautiful Havdalah service, followed by Break-the-Fast—the most delicious meal of the year!

May we all finish the old year with hope and strength, and be inscribed for a new year of blessing in the Book of Life. G’mar Chatima Tova!

—Cantor David Frommer & Rabbi Jessica Zimmerman Graf

Sat, March 17 2018 1 Nisan 5778