|High Holiday services posed especially demanding challenges this year. The pandemic required us to master digital media within a very short period, and for the first time in thirteen years the Rabbi was without cantorial support.
For these reasons, we are deeply indebted to those congregants who joined us in the sanctuary and made such helpful contributions to our services, from Rosh Hashanah Eve all the way through N’ilah.
Our thanks to Mauro Wilk for his technical expertise, and to Avi Liebowitz for his professional talents as the producer of our digital services.
Thanks as well to Carrie Liebowitz and Sandy Gordin for lighting the evening candles as our holidays were beginning.
Aliyot this year went to Jennifer and Bob Britanisky, Lorie Ederr, Gary Smiley, Mauro Wilk, and Dan Falcon.
Our ark openers were Carrie Liebowitz, Jennifer Britanisky, Lynn Strait and Gary Poliakoff.
A gracious nod goes to Hank Steinberg, who stoically held the Torah on Rosh Hashanah morning even as the ark doors were summarily shut behind him.Our Hagba Galilah were Bob and Jennifer Britanisky, Ira Greenfield, and Sandy Gordin.
Readers included Les Mitchell and Lorie Ederr. Special thanks to Lynn Strait and Nancy Rosenberg for going well beyond the call of duty in the sheer number of passages they read, as well as their availability throughout all six services.
Beautiful musical contributions were made by Courtney LeBauer, Brian Steinberg, Lorie Ederr, as well as Carl and Raeleigh McCarn.
The shofars were sounded by Bob Britanisky and Rex Russell.
And thank you to Alane, Olivia, and Sophia Russell for their contributions to the Havdallah service as Yom Kippur was drawing to a close.
I want to thank as well the members of the Ritual Committee for contacting the congregants who participated in our services this year: Susan Abelkop, David Blumenfeld, Bob Britanisky. and Elaine Hyman.
As always, our multitasker-in-chief, Sandy Gordin, was available throughout the holidays wherever and whenever she was needed.
And alas, words cannot express our gratitude and appreciation for the extraordinary work that Rabbi Liebowitz did to provide spiritually meaningful and engaging services this year in the face of so many difficult challenges.
During Yom Kippur, the Rabbi noted that every year, as the Passover Seder is ending, we all say: “Next Year in Jerusalem!” He then added that, as 5781 commences, may we all say: “Next Year in the Sanctuary!”
Ein Groyse Dank and Amen!
As I was raised in a Yiddish speaking home, I was blessed with various colorful expressions, most of which were a little bit R-rated. This one was not! Mitn derinin! It roughly translate as “In the middle of it all!” As in you finally settle down for dinner after a long day and Mitn derinin! The phone rings and it is a long-lost cousin who just so happens to be in the neighborhood and wants to come over a visit. Or, you have just paid all your bills for the month. You breathe a sigh of relief and Mitn derinin! The car breaks down. This expression was always followed by another expression, “I need this like a lochen cup that is to say like “a hole in my head!”
At this time of writing, Yom Kippur is just a mere six days away. I am mindful of all the efforts that have been made to make possible our services, albeit remotely. Mauro (and if you will forgive a filial boast) my son Avi have been techno wizards, allowing us to do the best we can with what are incredibly difficult times of the pandemic. I also wish to acknowledge Dr. Mark Packer, Sharon, and our President who were Johnny on the Spot showing up and supporting these liturgical efforts. A big shout out does go to Lynn Strait and Nancy Rosenberg who served tirelessly as readers. (Not to forget our Shofar sounder Dr. Britanisky!) A last note goes out to Jan, our office administrator who in addition to putting up with Rabbinical gyrations and improvisations made possible the mailings, emails, and more. There are others, board members, flower providers that warrant acknowledgement and thanks. I list only a few for fear of neglecting one or more.
Mitn derinin! No sooner does Yom Kippur draw to a close, we are bid to start preparing for Sukkot. What a crazy calendar! Yet from a spiritual point of view, the Yamim Noraim, the High Holy Days require the balance that is Sukkot, a holiday characterized by a certain degree of melancholy coupled with gratitude for what we have. We move from the harsh imperative to repent to a degree of acceptance of our human condition. (Ecclesiastes – Kohelet tempered our existential need to change with a mood-altering view that “all is vanity, like a breath,” which fades away.
One other yin to yang of these holidays is of course the fact that we deny sustenance on Yom Kippur but indulge on Sukkot, a holiday of abundance. (I look forward to your being with us on October 9th for our Sukkot Simchat Torah Drive in dinner and celebration. See page 7) This balance is quite needed in these unbalanced times. I once took a quiz in which a young man was a crossing a bridge. He noticed a sign that forbade anyone weighing more than a hundred and fifty pounds. He weighed a fairly light one hundred and forty pounds. He was on a mission to bring to the King three valuable jewels, each of which weighed five pounds each. Oy! What did he do? He crossed bridge juggling the three jewels so that at no time he held more than two of the jewels.
I pray and hope that all of you will find balance in the days ahead, given all the challenges we face. May it be so that our heritage which has stood the test of time will bring you a sense of purpose and peace in the days ahead, health and happiness to as well!
Rabbi Yossi Liebowitz, D.D.
Every new year begins with our most fervent wish for peace. In a region of the world that sadly has known too little of this through the millennia, positive developments are taking place that we hope will bring our brothers and sisters in Israel and throughout the Middle East closer to that goal. The following article was written by Rabbi Rick Jacobs, President of the Union for Reform Judaism, after the agreement between Israel and the UAE and Bahrain was signed.
Today’s White House ceremony celebrating the normalization agreement between Israel and the UAE and Bahrain has been long in coming and is a welcome step toward a future in which Israel is a fully accepted member of the international community. While it solves few of the complex issues at the heart of a future comprehensive Middle East peace agreement it still signals an important shift that we pray will lead to many more significant shifts toward peace.
All those who played a role in crafting the accord: Israeli, Bahraini, Emirati, and American officials and leaders alike, are to be congratulated for preferencing a peaceful future over a hostile past. We commend President Trump and Prime Minister Netanyahu for prioritizing efforts to expand the list of Israel’s regional partners, committing the necessary resources and time to make today’s agreement possible. The UAE’s Minister of State, Yousef Al-Otaiba, the country’s ambassador to the US, deserves much credit for his Hebrew op-ed in which he starkly challenged Israel to choose between annexation and normaliza- tion. Israel chose normalization over the disastrous effects of annexation, we strongly hope permanently. In the coming months we hope Israelis and Palestinians can directly engage in the hardest and most critical discussions that will move the region forward towards the future we desperately need.
May the new year about to begin, 5781, be a year of peace for all peoples.
10/4 Sandy Gordin
10/4 Heidi Moss
10/7 Ansley Lyon
10/7 Robert Nabow
10/12 Raeleigh McArn
10/14 Jon Lewson
10/14 Harry Price
10/17 Ira Greenfield
10/18 Tom Barnet
10/23 Jeffrey Cohen
10/23 Thomas Friedheim
10/23 Robert Lyon
10/25 Paul Friedberg
10/26 Carl McArn
10/27 McCoy Gerber
10/31 Cashlin Bost
10/31 Roxanne Gheorghiu
10/1 Elaine London
10/1 Moshe Weisz
10/4 Pearl Tanenbaum
10/5 Sydelle B. Bronstein
10/6 Edward Gray
10/7 Katie Cohen
10/7 Morton Massey
10/7 Bella Price
10/7 Joe Rex
10/9 Barry M. List
10/9 Minnie Sandler
10/11 Jennie H. Cohen
10/11 Mark A. Fleishman
10/11 Harry From
10/11 Philip Weintraub
10/11 William M. Wimpy
10/12 Linda Rosenberg
10/12 Joel Tanenbaum
10/13 Bernard Litoff
10/16 Allen London
10/17 Sigmund Litoff
10/18 Abraham Rabinowitz
10/19 Abraham Katz
10/19 Dora Price
10/20 Marian Unger
10/21 Dora Steinbrock
10/22 Pearl Bernstein
10/22 Jane Teszler
10/23 Debby Gordin-Markel
10/23 Guenther Mortge
10/24 Etta Flaum
10/24 Anne K. Finke
10/25 Bertha Finke
10/25 Ruth Levy
10/25 Matthew Poliakoff
10/25 Harris Rabiner
10/25 Beatrice S, Traub
10/26 Herman J. Mittle
10/27 Robert H. Gilpin
10/27 Samuel Miller
10/27 Wm. Pressman
10/27 Sol Weinberger
10/31 Philip Gelman
10/31 William W. Schwart
Erev Rosh Hashanah: Friday, September 18, 2020, 7:30 pm Traditional Musaf
Rosh Hashanah Day 1 Morning: Saturday, September 19, 10:00 am Traditional Musaf follows
1:00 Story Time & Family Service with Religious School-FB Live 2:00 Zoom session discussion with Rabbi Liebowitz, How can we
find Rosh Hashanah renewal at a time of fear? (Look for the link to be sent via email.)
*Rosh Hashanah Day 2: Sunday, September 20, 2020, 10:00 am
“If a person uses broken vessels, it is considered an embarrassment. But God seeks out broken vessels for his use, as it says, ‘God is the healer of shattered hearts.’ Vayikra Rabba 7:2
We live in a broken time; lives have been taken, jobs have been lost, and faith in our institutions has waned.
At times I think the last of these broken realities is perhaps the harshest of all. As a well-known saying goes: “Man
can live 40 days without food, three days without water, eight minutes without air, but only one second without hope.” The great psychologist and Survivor of the Shoah, Victor Frankel, reflected as much in his landmark book Man’s Search for Meaning: “We who lived in concentration camps can remember the men who walked through the huts comforting others, giving away their last piece of bread. They may have been few in number, but they offer sufficient proof that everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of human freedoms—to choose one’s own attitude in any given set of circumstances—to choose one’s own way.” And what was that way? The way was to maintain a sense of hope, and from that would spring our yearning for life and its meaning. Meaning can be found through giving something back to the world, altering our attitudes. Many of his thoughts found expression in his practice of Logotherapy.
Some practical suggestions were articulated by the writer Arlin Cuncic. She urges that we apply these efforts our daily lives:
• Create something for creating something (e.g., art) gives you a sense of purpose.
• Develop relationships. The supportive nature of spending time with others will help you to develop more of a sense of meaning in your life. (more difficult in this Zoom world)
- Find purpose in pain. If you are going through something bad, try to find a purpose in it. If a family member is going through medical treatments for a disease, view your purpose as being there to support that person.
- Understand that life is not fair… However, life can always have meaning, even in the worst of situations.
- Focus on others. Try to focus outside of yourself to get through feeling stuck about a situation.
Our people have from time immemorial been practiced in looking for hope. No mistake that the National Anthem of Israel and of all Israel is Hatikva – The Hope. I pray we will all find hope in the New Year – the time of renewal, a time of anticipation for a better world, a world that God dreamed of us creating from the beginning of time. May the words of the Psalmist resonate in each and every heart! And now, O Lord, for what do I wait? My hope is in you. (Psalm 39:7)
L’Shana Tova Tikateivu!
May you be written for goodness in the coming year 5781!
Rabbi Yossi Liebowitz D.D.
September 2020 Service Schedule
See page 7 for High Holiday service dates and times.
Until further notice, services will be at 6:00 via Facebook Live on the Congregation B’nai Israel Facebook page. If you cannot make the “live” service, it will be available to watch any time at your conven- ience. This is the link to the Temple’s Facebook Page
Simply go to the page at 6:00 and click on the live video to view. Saturday morning Torah studies will be held via Skype at 10:00 am