SEPTEMBER 2019 NEWSLETTER
ELUL 5779 / TISHREI 5780
~ RABBI'S CORNER ~
Hayom harat olam: This is the day of the world's birth.
In just a couple of weeks, we will be reciting this phrase several times during the Rosh Hashanah service. It reminds us that the Jewish New Year marks the birthday of the world -- the traditional Jewish numeration of the years affirming that the world is currently 5780 years old.
For most of us, such an assertion is met with a certain cognitive dissonance and perhaps even a bemused incredulity: yes, we say> it's the year 5780, but how can any educated individual living in the 21st century really believe that the world is only 5780 years old? Moreover, when this question is asked, one might expect other larger questions to enter the discussion: evolution vs. creationism, scientific truth vs. religious truth, random creation vs. intelligent design, etc.
But the birthday of the world is not really a central theme for this day. If it were, the Torah reading would be the first two chapters of Genesis -- but they aren't. However, a central theme of the season is suggested from the third chapter of Genesis (3:9). When Adam tries to hide from G-d after eating of the forbidden fruit, G-d asks a question that continues to echo across the millennia to every descendant of Adam, especially at this time of the year: ''Where are you''
The High Holiday season beckons each of us to take this question seriously. Significantly, the salient theme of the High Holiday season -- teshuvah (usually understood as repentance or penitence) -- not only means ''return'' but also ''a response'': at this season we are beckoned to respond to this question, and begin to bridge the gap that we have created between G-d and ourselves.
Why do I mean ''we have created''? Because if we believe in the G-d that is affirmed at this season -- an ever-present Just Ruler and Compassionate Parent -- the old adage is true: ''if you're feeling distant from G-d, remember that only one of you has moved away.''
Unfortunately, there are those who believe they will never be close to G-d, either because they do not feel worthy of that closeness, or life has robbed them of faith and trust and replaced it with cold cynicism. Others want to take the season seriously and ''do teshuvah,'' but don't know where to begin.
So...for anyone who wants to ''meet G-d'' -- for the first time or renew the acquaintance again -- I share this poignant meditation by Rabbi Lionel Blue:
Meeting G-d can be very simple. If it is not simple, and no voice speaks in our silence, and no hand reaches down to meet ours in trust, then we should ask ourselves these questions, for the mistake may be ours.
Perhaps G-d cannot be Himself to us, because we are not ourselves, our true selves to Him. We have not prayed to Him as we are, but as we feel we ought to be, or as others want us to be, or as what we think He thinks we ought to be. This last is the most difficult to unravel because it hides confusion or a blasphemy.
Perhaps G-d meets us and we do not recognize Him. He may speak to us in a chance remark we overhear, through a stray thought in our mind, or by a word from the prayerbook that resonates in us. Perhaps a side door is the only door we have left open to Him. The others we defended and barred, so He must steal into us as a thief in the night.
Perhaps we do not like what He says, but are frightened to say so, and so pretend we never met Him, and indeed could not meet Him for He is only an idea. The avoidance is natural because in the sight of G-d our success can seem failure and our ambitions dust.
Perhaps we are satisfied with our lives and do not want to meet Him. So we chant our prayers and sing our hymns to prevent a few moments' silence, for He speaks in silence.
Perhaps we have not allowed G-d to judge us because we have already judged Him, and have already anticipated His word. He may love us more than we know; He may know us more than we know ourselves; He may still surprise us.
Perhaps we are frightened where He may lead us. He may send us from our father's house; He may bring us to the wilderness; He may let us wander in it for forty years; He may ask us to find our security in what we cannot touch. Will He give us courage equal to our need if we pray?
Meeting G-d can be simple, but nothing can happen if we do not will it.
Sheryl and I wish all of you a l'shana tova tikateyvu v'tichatemu. May the coming year be a year when such meetings will take place for all of us...and we will stop hiding.
- Rabbi Cary Kozberg
~ AN INVITATION ~
YOU ARE INVITED
CELEBRATE WITH US
WILL BE CALLED TO THE TORAH
2nd BAR MITZVAH
FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 13, 2019
THE SILVERSTEIN FAMILY
ONEG TO FOLLOW
~ 5780 HIGH HOLY DAYS SCHEDULE ~
Sunday, Sept 22, 11:30 AM
Cemetery Memorial Service
Sunday, Sept 29, 8:00 PM
Erev Rosh Hashana service and oneg
Monday, Sept 30, 10 AM
Rosh Hashana Morning service followed by Tashlikh service
Tuesday, Oct 8, 8:00 PM
Kol Nidre service
Wednesday, Oct 9, Yom Kippur
10:00 AM -- Morning service
1:00 PM -- Yom Kippur Discussion
3:30 PM -- Afternoon service
5:00 PM -- Yizkor Memorial service
5:30 PM -- Concluding service/Ne'ilah
6:30 PM -- Havdalah & Break-the-Fast
~ CEMETERY MEMORIAL SERVICE ~
SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 22, 11:30 AM
It is a meaningful Jewish tradition to visit the graves of dear ones in the period leading up to Rosh Hashana. You are invited to attend this brief Memorial Service on September 22. Please gather in the Reform Jewish cemetery section of Ferncliff Cemetery. Individuals may wish to visit the graves of their loved ones after this service.
~ ROSH HASHANA RECEPTION ~
SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 29
The reception will take place immediately following the Rosh Hashana evening service on September 29. The food will be prepared by caterers, but we still appreciate any donations to offset the cost.
~ TASHLIKH ''THROW'' ~
Please join us for a fun and informal (and ancient) Rosh Hashana ritual. On Monday, Sept 30, we will get together at Reid Park (across from the entrance to the Dam) after the Morning Service (about 12:30) when Rabbi Kozberg will lead in symbolically ridding ourselves of our shortcomings by throwing breadcrumbs in the water. Bring your children and your grandchildren, and don't forget the bread!
~ YOM KIPPUR BREAK-THE-FAST ~
WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 9
The entire congregation and guests are cordially invited to attend the Temple Break-the-Fast sponsored by the Worship Committee after the final shofar blast of Yom Kippur. Please contact Phyllis Nedelman at 399-1117, Laurie Leventhal at 399-9519, or the Temple office at 399-1231 if you are willing to bake and donate kugels or cakes for this reception.
~ YOM KIPPUR HUNGER PROJECT ~
Empty grocery bags will be available to congregants on Erev Rosh Hashana. Please return them filled with non-perishable foods by Yom Kippur for donation to our local food bank. Even if your hunger lasts only a day, it is enough to make you aware of the challenge hunger presents to those who experience it. Take your experience with hunger and turn it into a meaningful action. Envelopes will also be available for your donations to MAZON.
~ COURTESY SEATING ~
Will you be traveling during the High Holy Days and attending a synagogue away from your home city? Please let us know if you would like the office to send a request for courtesy seating when you attend another Reform synagogue. Remember that tickets are not required for admission to worship services at Temple Sholom. All services are open to members, their guests, and the community.
~ BRING A WRAP ~
In the interest of comfort, you may wish to bring a light jacket for services in the sanctuary. The temperature is generally set a bit cooler so that the participants on the bimah will not be too warm.
~ TEMPLE OFFICE CLOSED ~
The Temple office will be closed for Rosh Hashana on Monday, Sept 30; for Yom Kippur on Wednesday, Oct 9; for Sukkot on Monday, Oct 14; and for Shmini Atzeret on Monday, Oct 21.
~ CONTRIBUTIONS ~
- In honor of Phyllis Nedelman's Bat Mitzvah from Shirley Leventhal
SHARON LEE BROOCK FLOWER FUND
- In honor of Laurie Leventhal's birthday from Linda Foley, Jennifer Cox, Peggy Noonan
~ YAHRZEIT LIST ~
SEPT 6: Arthur A. Cornez (father of Paul), Louis Feinstein (father ofAlan), Aaron Isaac Gordon, Alfred Stein, Paul Lewis Stein, Moshe Zohar (brother of Itzca)
SEPT 13: Maurice K. Baach, Sol Dagan, Rabbi C. Melvyn Helfgott, Dora Klein, Annabel Lapinsky, Lena Reich, Lina Goland Schiff, Julius Singer, Pearl Weinbach, Douglas J Klang (father of Doug), Dan Rich, Morton J. Weiss (father of Brian)
SEPT 20: Grace Paris Bruser, Estella Greenland (mother of Jay), Moses M. Kaufman, Max Roy Lapinsky, Louis Leventhal, Sylvia K. Margolis, Dora Salzer, Robert M. Tannenbaum, Alma L. Weixelbaum, Caleb Alan Armbrecht, Howard Heller, Sheldon Leventhal (brother of Ed)
SEPT 27: Rebecca Gerson, Walter B. Kleeman, Sr, Fannie Neyer Leventhal, Louis Dollin, Ari Leviatan
OCT 4: Ida Reva Block, Jane L. Ensten, Hyman E. Levy, James Goldman (brother of Lloyd), Ruth Miller, Seymour Miller, Lester Stein (father of Leslie Buerki)