After all of the hustle and bustle of the Jewish fall holidays, we hope everyone feels renewed and ready to look towards the business of Hadassah and other interests.

We will have a brief meeting on Wednesday, October 18 at 11:00 am and on Wednesday, November 15 at 11:00 am. The Rabbi is having a Brown Bag Luncheon on November 15 at 12:00 noon, and we invite you to stay and learn a little, nosh a little, and laugh a little.

We encourage you to bring canned food items for the donation barrel whenever possible. The need is great, and the effort is small.

See you around the Temple
Nancy Rosenberg

From the Heart with Rabbi Liebowitz

Judaism (originally from Hebrew, יהודה Yehudah, “Judah” via Latin and Greek) is an ancient monotheistic Abrahamic religion with the Torah as its foundational text.

Dear friends,

As an instructor of religion it is astounding to find how often the word is used but whose meaning defies clarity. Such was one of the major point by William James who titled his classic “The Varieties of Religious Experience.” While many like Rudolph Otto were content to reduce the idea of religion to the idea of the numinous which is to say a feeling of awe and wonder, James more or less threw up his arms and happily said it is too difficult to come up with an overarching definition.

The Oxford dictionary defined religion as the belief in and worship of a superhuman controlling power, especially a personal God or gods: Etymologically, religion from the Latin “religare” means to bind fast, via the notion of “placing an obligation on,” or “a bond between humans and gods.” Such definitions are god centered ones. But they are not the only ones as some “religions” tend to focus more on ritual and mythological narratives. Often we hear contemporary critics say, “I am not religious, I am spiritual,” implying that religion can actually be from a organizational perspective counter to spirituality. The disappointments that religious structures and those who care for them have created a cynicism; that which is to house spirituality will do quite the opposite. I need not cite some of these multi-religious transgressions among clergy.

Another way of understanding religion is mythological. By this we mean that religion captures a way of looking at the world. One paradigm goes like this: Nature, Harmony, Liberation and History. The last of these find a home in the monotheistic faiths of Christianity, Islam and Judaism with its narrative that there is active God, who creates, rewards and punishes. Harmony faiths like Taoism focus on finding balance in life and achieving inner peace. Liberation faiths like Hinduism believe our souls are trapped in the illusion of being separate from the Ultimate God Brahman with the goal of finding freedom and oneness. Lastly, Nature faiths typically called Religions of Place emphasize the connection to the land in which humans are part and parcel of the same without being superior. It would not comport with Chapter Two of Genesis that puts Adam at the apex of creations.

In truth since life abhors a vacuum, elements of all four perspectives of these mythologies seep into one another. Taoists will entertain beliefs in so called Kitchen gods offering petitions to them. In our faith, harmony perspectives and nature perspectives find expression in our Sukkot rituals. Such perspectives are sorely needed in a world in which respect for creation is lagging and at times is neglected altogether. In the eastern view of Yin and Yang, there is a little of the opposite in the other: a little bit of male in the female and the female in the male.

So with Sukkot the emphasis on God being a deliverer of justice is replaced almost entirely by the views of Kohelet – Ecclesiastes. Radically, it asserts “the race is not to the swift or the battle to the strong.” In short, “go figure!” But as its poem made famous by Pete Seeger and then the folk rock group The Byrds “To everything there is a season…” This bit of prose teaches us to be accepting or in harmony with our world, a vital and peaceful imperative that runs somewhat counter to the harsh demands of the ten days of Repentance. Talk about the opposites of Yin and Yang! But in truth they both serve to anchor our spirituality as we need both perspectives in our lives, the idea of the demanding tradition and the view that religion should provide an incentive to find harmony and peace.

At one time in our history, Yom Kippur was a minor celebration when Sukkot was for an agrarian culture dominant. In our plastic, grocery delivery system in which we are so removed from nature Sukkot is the holiday many of us need to recover.

Wishing you a grand year in which “you go with the flow!” 🙂

Yossi Liebowitz, Rabbi

High Holiday Schedule of Events 5778

High Holidays Schedule of Events Selichot Movie: Saturday, September 16 at 7 pm “Nowhere in Africa”

Erev Rosh Hashanah: Wednesday, September 20, Service at 7:30 pm with ONEG to follow

Rosh Hashanah Day 1: Thursday, September 21, Service at 9:30 am Children’s Service with ONEG at 4:00 pm

Rosh Hashanah Day 2: Friday, September 22, Service at 9:30 am Shabbat Shuva

Saturday, September 23, Service at 9:30 am Memorial Service

Sunday, September 24 at 12:30 pm at Greenlawn Cemetery

Kol Nidre: Friday, September 29, Service at 7:30 pm

Yom Kippur: Saturday, September 30, Service at 9:30 am; meditation & discussion at 2:00 pm, children’s service at 3:00, afternoon service at 4:00 with Yizkor & Neilah to follow. Break-the-fast: 7 pm.
Please RSVP.

Sukkot Setup: Sunday, October 1

Decorate the Sukkah Pizza Party: Wednesday, October 4 during Hebrew School.

Yizkor Service: Thursday, October 12 at 6:00 pm

Simchat Torah: Friday, October 13, Consecration dinner at 6:00 pm

Rosh Hashanah 5778

ROSH HASHANAH is the Jewish New Year marking the anniversary of the creation of the world. Rosh Hashanah is also called the Day of Judgment. God is said to inscribe the fate of every person for the upcoming year in the Book of Life. Rosh Hashanah marks the beginning of the Ten Days of Awe, during which time Jews seek forgiveness for their transgressions.

TESHUVAH – The Hebrew word for “sin” is “chet,” derived from an old archery term used when an archer “misses the mark.” Teshuva is the process by which Jews atone throughout the Ten Days of Awe.

MITZVAH OF THE SHOFAR – The essential mitzvah (commandment) of Rosh Hashanah is to hear the sounding of the shofar.

APPLES AND HONEY- There is many Rosh Hashanah food customs but the most common is the dipping of apples into honey to signify our wishes for a sweet new year. A special round loaf of challah symbolizes the cycle of time.

“L’SHANA TOVAH” -The traditional Rosh Hashanah greeting appropriate for Jewish friends on Rosh Hashanah is “L’Shana Tovah” or simply “Shana Tovah” which loosely translates as “Happy New Year or “L’Shana Tovah u’Metukah,” wishing someone a “good and sweet year.”

TASHLICH – On Rosh Hashanah, many Jews may follow a custom called Tashlich (“casting off”) symbolically cast off their sins into the water by throwing pieces of bread into the stream.

YOM KIPPUR – DAY OF ATONEMENT was instituted long ago Leviticus 23: And the Eternal spoke unto Moses, saying: “Howbeit on the tenth day of this seventh month is the Day of Atonement; there shall be a holy convocation unto you, and ye shall afflict your souls; and ye shall bring an offering made by fire unto the Eternal. ……to make atonement for you before the Eternal your God.” It is our last chance to change God’s judgment of one’s deeds in the previous year who decides our fate in the coming year. In the Bible, Yom Kippur is called Shabbat Shabbaton, “Sabbath of Sabbaths. “Abstention from work and solemnity characterize the Sabbath as most complete.

In the days of the Temple in Jerusalem, the high priest conducted an elaborate sacrificial ceremony on Yom Kippur. Clothed in white linen, he successively confessed his own sins, the sins of priest, and the sins of the people, and then entered the Holy of Holies in the Temple to sprinkle the blood of the sacrifice and offer incense. The priest then sent a goat (the “scapegoat”) into the wilderness, where it was driven to its death, to symbolically carry away the sins of Israel.

OBSERVANCES OF YOM KIPPUR – On the eve of Yom Kippur, the Kol Nidre is recited. The Kol Nidre (“all vows”) annuls all vows made throughout the year. But the Kol Nidre actually refers only to vows made between oneself and God, and especially frivolous vows made to God or those made under duress. Even so, obligations towards other people must be upheld. God will forgive sins one commits, but if one has wronged another person, he must seek forgiveness from that person and try to make it right. The Mishna teaches, “Yom Kippur does not atone until one appeases his neighbors.” In the Yom Kippur synagogue service the confession is recited in the first person plural to emphasize communal responsibility for sins. The concluding service N’ilah is the last chances to get in a “good word” before God’s judgment are sealed. At nightfall, the Yom Kippur service concludes with one last long blast on the shofar.

HAPPIEST TIME OF THE YEAR – There were no days as happy for the Jewish people as the 15th of Av [when marriages were arranged] and Yom Kippur. It brings about reconciliation with God and other people. Thus, if they have observed it properly, many people feel a deep sense of serenity by the end of the fast.