- Posted by Elaine Zecher
- On September 18, 2020
- 0 Comments
Welcome to Shabbat Awakenings, our weekly reflection as we make our way toward Shabbat and this week, Rosh Hashanah! You can listen to it as a podcast HERE.
Actually, preparation starts now! Rosh Hashanah begins tonight. The time remains the same every year: the first of Tishrei. The place this year is different, however. Though the clergy will be in the sanctuary with Rabbi Gubitz on zoom, the entire community will be in their own space that becomes their sanctuary. This will take effort and intention.
Levi Yitzchak, a Hasidic master of the 18th century commented on the instruction to Moses to build the mishkan, the sanctuary for the Israelites, “exactly as I tell you”. He lifted up the discrepancy that each time the Israelites built a sanctuary, first in the wilderness, then by King Solomon, and then again hundreds of years later by Herod, it was different. How could it have been built exactly as God commanded, he asked and yet be unlike the previous ones?
The answer is you!
When God instructed the Israelites to build a sacred place so that God could dwell among them, it was to ensure that each person has the ability to bring the sacred into their midst.
This year, each of us has the opportunity and obligation to build a sanctuary wherever we dwell. By bringing effort and intention, it becomes a sacred endeavor. Taking physical and mental steps helps us transition into prayer.
Here are some suggestions from your rabbis, rabbinic intern and cantor of Temple Israel:
- Decide where you will be. We don’t recommend the dinner table as you eat. Give yourself the chance to pay attention to what is in front of you.
- Make some change in that space. Add a cloth or other items that acts as a reminder of its special place at this time.
- Make a change to yourself. Dress for the holiday in a way that works for you and lifts up the moment.
- Gather your candles and Kiddush cup so we can offer the blessings together and you will have the candles glowing by you and the sweet taste of wine or juice on your lips as you experience the holiday.
- Plan to turn off notifications on your devices so you’re not getting pinged with texts and emails and social media while in the services.
- Make sure pets have what they need. And children, too.
- Set an intention about your presence. Move from the passive to the active. Consider how you can transform the experience by turning from just watching to reflecting, praying, singing, offering, and engaging.
- Before you do turn to or turn on whatever technology you are using, take a deep breath and remind yourself that what is in front of you is now part of the experience of praying, reflecting, and engaging in the holidays. See it as an opening like a window or door that allows the connection between you, the community, prayer, and the sacred to occur.
- Offer blessing to help you focus:
I transform you with my desire for the change I wish to see in myself.
This is now my sacred space—my mikdash m’at,
a sanctuary where I will allow myself to become present to my breath,
to turn down the noise of the world
and turn up the volume of my prayers.
Shanah Tovah! Good Yuntif! G’mar Tov!
In this holy space that is my home, I pursue my desire to become whole (part of a blessing written by Rabbi Jen Gubitz).
Blessed are You and blessed are we, that we have been kept alive, sustained, and brought together to share in these days of awe.
Rabbis Suzie Jacobson, Jen Gubitz, DanSlipakoff, Rabbinic intern Andrew Oberstein, and Cantor Alicia Stillman as well and Rabbis Ronne Friedman, Bernard Mehlman and Cantor Roy Einhorn join me in wishing you and your circle of family and friends a sweet, hopeful, and healthy new year.
L’Shanah Tovah Um’tukah and Shabbat Shalom!
- Erev Rosh Hashanah Village Service will take place at 5:00 p.m.
- Erev Rosh Hashanah Family Service begins at 6:00 p.m.
- Erev Rosh Hashanah Full Community Service begins at 7:30 p.m.
- Erev Riverway Project Rosh Hashanah Service begins at 8:00 p.m.
- The Village Service takes place at 9:00 a.m.
- The Family Service takes place at 9:00 a.m.
- The Majestic Service takes place at 9:00 a.m.
- The Contemporary Service takes place at 11:00 a.m.
- Explore our interactive library of High Holy Day materials
- Sign up for virtual small group sessions during Elul and on the holidays themselves
- See the full schedule of virtual High Holy Day services