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Rabbi Eva's High Holiday Letter

09/16/2017 10:33:57 AM

Sep16

Dear Shul Family and Friends,

Each Shabbat service, we begin with chanting “Am I awake, Am I prepared,” a reminder that we have arrived, present and ready to enter Shabbat in community. In less than one week from today, we will gather together as The Shul of New York at the Angel Orensanz Foundation, hopefully awake and prepared to welcome the new year.

The High Holidays, like Shabbat, punctuate our life by giving us an opportunity to reflect on who we are, what we believe, and our relationships with God, family, friends, community and the world.

I learned from my Rabbi, Zalman Schachter-Shalomi z”l, to view the Jewish calendar as a spiritual technology in guiding us to find meaning in our lives. When we attune ourselves to the spiritual aspects of a holiday, we live the full circle of life.

As we prepare for Rosh Hashanah during the month of Elul, we are offered possibilities for deep reflection. We are called to listen to the daily blowing of the shofar, to help us focus, wake up and prepare ourselves for the Holy Days. If we can enter the High Holidays awake and prepared, we increase the chances of having a deep and transformative experience.

On Rosh Hashanah, there are three actions we are beckoned to undertake to enhance the meaning and worthiness of our lives, as well as become less judgmental ~ Teshuvah, Tefillah, and Tzedakah. Teshuvah is the act of turning inwards and deepening our connection with our most authentic selves. Tefillahtranslates as prayer, meditation, devotion, and faith. Tzedakah signals acts of kindness, gratitude, and charity.

How will you take these words to heart to help guide you towards living your full potential?

I invite you to take some time with yourself this week and ask:

~ What am I most grateful for at this time in your life?

~ Is there something I am particularly proud of that happened this past year?

~ Is there something I wish I would have done differently?

~ Who do I need to ask forgiveness of or to forgive? How will I do this?

~ How would I like to improve myself in the coming year?

~ How will I accomplish this? Why is this important to me?

~ What spiritual practice awaken and prepare me to lead a fulfilling life?

~ What form of tzedakah will I commit to in the coming year?

 

I want to share the following sources to enhance your High Holiday experience.

***Get a head start by listening to one of our holiday theme songs prepared by our own Adam Feder, Lisa Hart and me to get you in the Rosh Hashanah mood. “Let us Turn, Return and be Turned.”
 

*** Join us as we learn and live through the Jewish calendar.

Follow the spirited chronicle of Abigail Pogrebin as she dives into living through the holiday cycles in her book, My Jewish Year, 18 Holidays, One Wondering Jew. 

Pogrebin invites us to join her on this journey to better understand the meaning and relevance of why we celebrate the Jewish holidays. As she embarks on a year of researching, observing and writing about her experiences, she sets out a road map for her readers to follow along.

This year, one of our exciting themes is to learn about and celebrate many of the holidays at the Shul.

We will shortly make My Jewish Year available to you on our website at a discounted price.  

A schedule of holiday classes and events will be posted on our website soon, so keep checking. Maybe your goal this year is to experience one new holiday ritual. Wherever you are on your journey, we are looking forward to traveling together with you.
 

And now, for some pre-Rosh Hashanah inspiration:

To brush up on your Rosh Hashanah facts, check out:
Rosh Hashanah Facts You Probably Didn’t Know.

 

~ To help you with your reflection process, check out: 
Reflect, React and Renew 10Q 

 

~ Listen to and read an inspirational message from the American Jewish World Service in 18 words. 
 

~ And of course, what is Rosh Hashanah without fanciful recipes? 
Here are some of my favorites. 

 

Sign up for Tashlich with The Shul of New York. We will gather together on the Upper West Side to join thousands of Jews in the ritual of tashlich. After a short teaching, we will walk to the banks of the Hudson and meditate on what we are ready to let go of, symbolically casting away our obstacles through tossing bread into the river.

So for today, my dear Shul family and friends, I share my gratitude for your trust in me as your rabbi. It has been a wonderful first year together, and each day I feel blessed to work together with our tireless Co-Presidents, Don Brancaccio and Sara Lavner, and our extraordinary Program Director, Karen Seidman. Together with our Board, the Auxiliary Committee, and our dedicated volunteers, I believe that we, as a community, are awake and prepared for an awesome 5778.

I look forward to being together with Rabbi Burt, Adam and our fabulous Shul Band as we welcome you to our services.

May we all be blessed with a new year of peace, comfort, joy, compassion and love,

From my heart to yours, hineini, I am here for you!

Rabbi Eva

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Wed, October 23 2019 24 Tishrei 5780