Thursday, September 6, 2018

Shabbat & Rosh Hashanah - O - Gram

Shabbat & Rosh Hashanah-O-Gram

Packed house for our fabulous musical Selichot last Saturday Night

Shabbat Shalom and L'shana Tova Tikatevu!  

Have you seen our Rosh Hashanah video?  It's been seen by lots of people so far, but we want to up the ante.  As we've been welcoming a large number of new members recently, we are discovering that our current congregants are our best salespeople.  It's time to share that enthusiasm with the world.  So our request to you is that you click below and:
1) Watch it
2) Share it on social media and
3) Forward it to at least ten friends

L'Shana Tova 5779
L'Shana Tova 5779
Some quick announcements

-          Shabbat services this Friday night and Saturday morning will be UPSTAIRS IN THE CHAPEL, as the lobby and sanctuary are all set for the High Holidays. After services on Shabbat morning, we'll be changing over the Torah scrolls to the white holiday covers. Join us - we could always use a few more helping hands!
-          My photo essay, Children of the World, is now a featured op-ed at the Times of Israel. A number of those photos will be displayed in our lobby next week. This year I looked at the world through the eyes of children. I saw a different story, a story of hope and resilience and innocence reclaimed. I saw it in their faces. My hope is that we can all be inspired by the trusting, happy, loving, vulnerable faces of children.
-         See also my featured op-ed in the Jewish Week, "Rabbis' Moment of "Truth is Truth."
-         I'm delighted to share the news that the Amazon page for "Mensch·Marks" has gone live, even though publication is still several months away. Check it out - and thank you to so many who have already pre-ordered!
-          Britain's Labor Party has had trouble accepting the working definition of anti-Semitism as delineated by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance. We should all become familiar with this working definition. Here it is.
-          Each year, just before Rosh Hashanah, an organization called Hiddush releases a Religion and State Index, a comprehensive survey of Jewish opinion in Israel on critical issues facing Israel today. The organization's leader, Rabbi Uri Regev, spoke here last year. As the JTA article about this landmark survey states, "For years, American Jewish groups have agitated for more religious pluralism in Israel. And year after year, the Israeli government has acted as if the country's demographic and political realities make any kind of substantial reform impossible. The latest version of an annual survey disputes that claim: It shows that Jewish Israelis disapprove of how their government handles religious issues. It shows that they want more liberal religious policies. And it says they want American Jews to intervene in the debate. Read the complete survey here.
As we prepare for Rosh Hashanah, some reminders and requests from the rabbi (i.e me)

1) As in prior years, we will be live streaming, with the intent of reaching those who are in seniors residences, hospitals and those in college or living in far flung places around the globe.  There is nothing like being here, but we are delighted to bring the joy to everyone looking for our support. Please let me or Steve Lander know if you know of anyone who would benefit from tapping into our service.    

2) Once again, we are collecting food for Person to Person.  Please take a bag home and fill it, bringing it back over the coming days.

3) Our offer of second day Rosh Hashanah services open to the unaffiliated (along with the longstanding practice of opening up Yizkor on Yom Kippur) is one that goes right to the core of our mission.  We're here - all of us - to share the beauty and wonder of Jewish tradition with everyone around us, not to proselytize, but to help repair the world.  If we can reach people who are lonely, disengaged or seeking, we are doing are job.  Our area happens to be filled with such people, especially young professionals who have moved in recently.  You know them.  Please tell them about us and invite them to be here, whether as members or as visitors.  Please contact for more information.... 

And once you are settled into your seats, please look around and if you notice someone sitting alone or looking lost, PLEASE go up to that person, show them what page we're on, wish a happy new year, and smile. We call this "radical hospitality," and we've gotten much better at it, but sometimes we get all caught up on being guests when in fact all of us are hosts. This is your place! I told the board that if I see someone sitting alone and looking lost I'm going to come down from the bima and sit with them. Please don't make me do that!

4) And while I'm at it, plan to be here on second day Rosh Hashanah yourselves!  Our attendance has been growing every year, and it's a great time to really settle in to a more relaxed service (and hear part two of the sermon cycle).

5) Plan to get here as early as you can in the morning.  We begin at 8:45 AM on both Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. The service is scheduled to end at about 1:15 on Rosh Hashanah, after the children's program has let out.  That is by design, so that you can pick up the kids and bring them down to the main service for the conclusion, so they can hear multiple blasts of the shofar - plus our grand finale, when everyone who has a shofar comes up to the bima and creates a giant symphony of shofars.  (Oh, and by the way, if you want to participate in that, bring your shofar!) I'll encourage the kids to come forward to the foot of the bima.  Please don't rush for the doors as the service nears its conclusion.  I know the shuttles are inconvenient but think of the wait as an added opportunity to wish more people a sweet year.  Or, to avoid the bus-crush entirely, see #7 below.

6) Please turn off electronic devices - this is both for adults and kids.  I love those items as much as anyone and I'm also as dependent on them as you are.  But there comes a time when simply living requires living simply.  No need for Facebook while we face the Book.  But once the holiday is behind us, feel free to post and tweet away how wonderful it was to be at TBE, and share what you gained from the experience!

7) This year has been in many respects a year when women have asserted a new confidence in making an impact on the public square. TBE has long been egalitarian, but equal opportunity is not enough. Since the day I arrived, nearly every Bat Mitzvah has worn a tallit. I think it's time to see more of those tallitot being worn by women on the High Holidays. If you have one, bring it and if you don't, use one of ours. There is no greater statement of Jewish pride than to wear a tallit. Plus, it feels cool and empowering, a sense of ownership and humility at the same time and a profound connection with God and our own ancestors. If it's the first time, all the better. I would love to see a sea of tallitot standing before me on Monday.

8)     Tashlich always provides a welcome change to get outdoors after a long day of praying and eating.  Join us right after services on Monday (1:15 ish) weather permitting, for a quick walk over Doral Farms together.  As always we will cast breadcrumbs off into the living waters, symbolically throwing off the burden of our sins.

9)     My final request... smile a little. Maybe even a lot. You'll be amazed at how much 1500 smiles can illuminate and energize a room. Despite the craziness of things right now, there is so much for each of us to be grateful for.

If you are, like me, a charter member of the Chart Lovers Society, print out the one below and focus during the service on how you can work on each of these character traits over the coming ten days - and the coming year. Download the pdf and print it out.  See the interactive website.

And finally, some Rosh Hashanah-related reading material for you...

From MyJewishLearning:
From AJWS:
From Aleph (Jewish Renewal)
From the Jewish Theological Seminary:
"Psychotherapy as a Lens for Conceptualizing Teshuvah" by Rabbi David Hoffman
"The Art of Fly Fishing and Teshuvah" by Chancellor Arnold Eisen
"How to Love Yom Kippur" by Chancellor Arnold Eisen
"Teshuvah / Repentance" by prison chaplain Rabbi Joanna Katz
"The Difference a Day Can Make" by Rabbi Burton Visotzky
"The Process of Repentance" by Dr. Ismar Schorsch
"The Gift of Anxiety and Dread" by Rabbi Marc Wolf
"The Gift of Change" by Rabbi Charlie Schwartz
"Sea of Repentance" by Rabbi Andrew Sugarman
"The Psychology of Our Prayers" by Chancellor Arnold Eisen
"Lacking Praise" by Rabbi Matthew Berkowitz
"Yizkor: The Order of Giving" by Dr. Ismar Schorsch
"The Power of Prayer" by Dr. Ismar Schorsch
"Crafting a Moral Compass" by Dr. Ismar Schorsch
"Zichronot (Memories)" by Rabbi Samuel Bath
"Ne'ilah: Final Closing, or Not Quite?" by Rabbi Samuel Barth
On Psalm 27, recited from the beginning of Elul through the High Holidays"Psalm 27: The Days of Awe" by Dr. Alan Cooper
"Dwelling with God" by Sonia Gordon Walinsky (LC '04)
"A Psalm for Repentance" by Rabbi Matthew Berkowitz
No'am Adonai (the Beauty of Adonai): Psalm 27 and Elul by Rabbi Samuel Barth
Shabbat Shalom, and may you and yours have a year of sweetness.

Rabbi Joshua Hammerman

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