High Holidays 5777 (2016)

Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur services will be held at The Bishop Booth Conference Center at Rock Point. This beautiful location is handicapped accessible and there is ample parking.  Every service has transliteration and translations to support all levels of Hebrew. 

We ask that you purchase Adult Tickets now, in advance, so we can prepare for the right number of people. 

Child care tickets are no longer for sale.


Prayer & Ritual

Monday, Oct. 3
All services on this day will be held at: 
Bishop Booth Conference Center. 
Please arrive on time, so that you can benefit from the continuity of the whole service.

Rosh Hashanah Services 1st Day
10:00 am -1:00 pm
Join us for our inaugural High Holiday service! We welcome in the New Year with song and stories that join in harmony with some of the traditional melodies of this potent Holy Day. We will cultivate a spirit of forgiveness, for ourselves and others,  through our prayer, open-hearted singing, and times of silence. Torah service will include a bibliodrama 

1:00 pm - 2:00 pm
On our journey to Rock Point Beach, we'll use natural elements to create a living Rosh Hashanah ceremony encouraging us to reflect on the poignant memories of last year and enter into the new year with a Tashlich, casting off, of our regrets and invite sweet commitments for a new year of possibility and connection. Well packed forest trails down to the water’s edge. Bring weather gear if necessary.
Hike and Ceremony led by Melanie Kessler and Rabbi Jan Salzman 

Tuesday, Oct. 4 Rosh Hashanah, 2nd day
No liturgical service is planned.  
Find time on this 2nd day to deepen your awareness of who you are and who you aspire to be. Perhaps find time to go outside and revel in the miracle of Fall; eat some good food; visit some friends and family; remind yourself of ways of new beginnings and practice forgiveness. 
Friday, Oct 7 Kabbalat Shabbat Shuva
6:00 pm - 7:15 pm
The red brick synagogue, 168 Archibald Street.
Join together for  this special Shabbat that is situated between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. Veggie pot luck dinner to follow service.

Saturday, Oct. 8  Soulful Spirit Shabbat Morning and Torah Study
9:00 am - 11:00 am
The red brick synagogue, 168 Archibald Street.
Begin your Shabbat morning with gentle, Jewish-inspired Yoga and meditation, followed by an hour of an engaging conversation about this week's Torah portion.  Contemplative practice begins  at 9:00; Torah study begins at 10:00.  Pick one, or join them together for a full, soulful Shabbat morning. All are welcome! 

Tuesday, Oct. 11 Kol Nidre
6:30 pm - 8:00 pm
Bishop Booth Conference Center. 
Please be on time so we can begin promptly at 6:30 pm. We enter into our most purposeful prayer on the eve of Yom Kippur.  A quiet, sacred time that initiates some of the deepest probing of who we are as individuals and as a community, it is filled with what might be called real soul music. 

Wednesday, Oct. 12
All services on this day will be held at: 
Bishop Booth Conference Center. 
Please arrive on time, so that you can benefit from the continuity of the whole service.

Yom Kippur Morning Services, including Yiskor
10:00 am - 1:00 pm
We will contemplate where we as individuals and as a community have 'missed the mark' and not lived up to our most elevated ideals. Yiskor will provide us with the ritual of remembrance of those in our lives who have died. 

Yom Kippur program for older children
11:00 am- 1:00 pm
Older children program: Considering Forgiveness: a young person’s exploration of teshuva/forgiveness: A reflective high holiday wilderness experience for kids grades 2nd- 6th grade. “I am sorry, I forgive you, Try Again.  How can these simple sentences guide us to become better people amidst the possibilities alive in the wonders of nature?”
Locations: The trails, ledges, and beaches of the Rock Point Retreat Center. Led by Melanie Kessler and other guest leaders. Bring clothes for an outdoors experience.

Quiet Time
1:00 PM - 5:00 PM
Bring your sleeping bags and pillows if you want to bed down for a lovely afternoon nap, or bring a book to read, or just walk the trails with friends or in silence, as we wait for the sun to travel across the sky.

Conversation with the Book of Jonah
4:00 pm - 5:00 pm
At the dimming of the day, we are in many ways, Jonah. We have been fasting; we have confronted the way we act in the world, and we are yearning to change parts of our lives; we have spent Holy Day in the belly of a big fish, so to speak,  in the womb of possibilities and unanswerable questions. 

Neilah: the ending of Yom Kippur
5:00 pm - 6:30 pm
We end our time and our fasting together with uplifting song and the final exuberant plea for a fruitful and full year.  A light kiddish will be served.  Please contact Rabbi Jan to make a donation ahead of time to help cover the cost of this break fast. 

Holiday Reflections

A Joyful Celebration.              -R. Jan

According to the Sages, Rosh Hashanah is supposed to be celebrated in Joy. What do I mean by that? It is a New Year’s celebration without the party hats (though it does have a shofar!)  The New Year offers us a time to experience a joy that is grounded in the work of getting to know ourselves, examining our lives through the lens of our ethical and spiritual aspirations, and re-stating our commitment to live our lives according to our highest aspirations of what it means to be a kind and compassionate human being. We participate as individuals by coming together as a community; the liturgy is in the third person; we experience it in the first person.

Beneath the surface.

What lays beneath the daily-ness our lives? What informs our attitudes, actions, behaviors, emotions? When do we give ourselves the time and space to examine our lives?  Yes, we have this opportunity every day, every minute.  But the Holy Days, which begin with the first of the month of Elul and culminate as Yom Kippur draws to a close, specifically gives us the time, tools, and focus to dig beneath the surface of our lives, to reconnect with meaning and intention, to try and heal the places where we have hurt others, and to dissipate the hold that our own pain has on us. Moving through the ancient ‘spiritual technology’ of the prayers through a contemporary lens, we give ourselves the gift of renewal and reconnection. 

It's about realignment

It’s hard to walk into High Holidays cold. What do I mean, cold?  I was raised to attend synagogue only on the High Holidays, and I was struck by the severity of liturgy.  The face of GD that we meet in these services is one of Judge, Jury, and even Executioner!  (“who shall live, and who shall die, etc.”). What kind of religious tradition was this? It seemed discordant with the idea of a loving, forgiving face of GD.  Yet our tradition actually invites us to begin our self-evaluation daily. The Midrash (ancient improvisational  rabbinic stories that interpret and expand our texts) teaches that, during the month of Elul (which is the month before Tishrei, in which the Holy Days occur), GD is ‘in the fields’, close to us, accessible to each of us, to go and walk with and have that opportunity discuss the meaning of our lives. At the end of Elul, GD returns to the throne, and once again assumes the image of King and Judge.  Taken as a full time sweep, from Elul 1 to Tishrei 11, we have about 6 weeks to feel that we can be honest with ourselves within a LOVING and COMPASSIONATE relationship.  This is not about severity; it’s about realignment, a yearning to be the best that we can be. 

Teshuvah... means "return"

Judaism doesn’t really have a solid concept of sin. I know, I know,  the language of the ‘al chet’ /sins that we committed’  part of the service, it sure seems as if we focus on the word, sin.  But we don’t. That’s just the best word the English translators have used in the context of the Holy Days.   Know that if we mess up, in our relationships with others or with ourselves, it is not the Jewish way to feel that we are damned, or that our very beings are polluted or that we are irrevocably stained. The ‘al chet’ has more of the feel of the image of an archer: I aimed my arrow to act in a certain way, according to my highest self; I went off target. The antidote is teshuvah, a word that means RETURN.  A Yearning to return to the path., to return to my highest self.  To return our community to the  highest moral imperative.  That is why there is so much in the liturgy in the service about having neglected the poor, the orphan, and the widow (in the language of our ancient poets).  That is why there is so much in the liturgy about being stiff necked and obstinate and callous.  That is why all the language is in the 3rd person: WE have strayed, not just as individuals, but as a community.  And, as individuals.

Our inner dowsing stick trembles

 The path of the Holy Days is a dowsing stick. Through the time we spend together, our inner dowsing stick trembles when we strike the deep waters of our soul. It can happen when a familiar melody vibrates with memories of our youth and our forbearers; it can happen when in call and response, a particular transgression rocks us, plumbing to the truth about how we have conducted ourselves this past year; it can happen in the silence between the words, in the stories in the Torah that are read, in the thought of a friend with whom we’ve had challenges.  When we respond to that pull of the dowsing stick, we have the opportunity to  find the hidden waters that course through our beings, and we can clear out that which has clogged the waterway.  Let the waters run free! This is what we are to do at this time of year. 

The holy conversation

The task of our generation, like each generation before us, is to enter into the holy conversation of our tradition. We do this by reaching in to Torah, into the treasure of our inheritance, in search of answers to the questions of our time, to deal with the crises of body, heart, mind and soul that so urgently call. And here is where the misunderstanding lies: We think that receiving is a passive thing, that the truth is already formed, that someone else’s Torah will speak to us, that the Torah of the past will be enough. Or we think that our tradition is something fixed, and if it doesn’t fit our sensibilities, we’ll just look elsewhere.

No one is doing your prayers

The holy days are not a passive experience.  No one is doing your prayers, your work, for you.  You are part of the conversation; you bring your questions, your pain, your excitement, your joys, your sorrows, to the experience.  During these days of teshuvah/turning, we are invited to turn to ourselves with compassion and ask: How can I make my life holy, moment by moment? How can I tap into that underground river that flows beneath my feet?  Personally, we ask, how will I loosen my self-judgment so that I can open to my dreams, the music within my soul, the call of the natural world that needs so much attention?  As a community, we ask, how will we correct the systemic corruption of justice in our world; how will we care for those who need support; how will lessen our impact on the planet?

In our collective journey through the High Holidays there is so much potential for healing. May we all have a vibrant and exciting year. 

- Rabbi Jan Salzman