High Holidays

From Our Rabbi…

Shofar SilhouetteWe are now in the month of Elul – the month in which we prepare ourselves for the Yamim Noraim:  the Days of Awe. We’ve had the gift of a leap month on the Jewish calendar this year, giving us a few extra weeks as compared to last year, but we can’t count on time alone to do the preparation for us. Some choose to study mussar (a practice of Jewish ethics) or engage in daily meditation. Others have favorite books they return to each year. And as always, our calendar gives us markers and opportunities to check in with ourselves and each other along the journey from Elul through Tishre, the first month of the new year.

The first “stop” is our S’lichot service, Saturday, September 17, at 8 pm. We’ll begin with Havdalah as we transition from Shabbat to weekday, and then formally transition to High Holy Day mode. We’ll help the Torah scrolls don their white mantles and internally shift gears into our season of teshuvah (returning to our best selves).

Erev Rosh Hashanah services will begin at 7:30 pm on Sunday, September 25. We’ll gather both in person and via Zoom to welcome the new year: 5783. Visitors and out-of-town family members will be welcome at all of our holiday services, though we ask that all guests pre-register using the form on the website.

Rosh Hashanah morning service will begin at 10 am on Monday, September 26, and the community Tashlich – the point at which we symbolically cast off the missteps and bad habits we want to change – will be held at Buckingham Pond at 5 pm.

The span from Rosh Hashanah to Yom Kippur is when that sense of Awe is typically at its peak. This is when we give ourselves the extra nudge to settle our outstanding debts and IOUs, to make peace with those we may have wronged, and to start cultivating better habits in earnest. The Shabbat during this period is known as Shabbat Shuvah and includes some special liturgy to help us sustain our focus on the tasks at hand.

Our Erev Yom Kippur (Kol Nidrei) service will start at 7:30 pm on Tuesday, October 4. We will once again be joined by harpist Elizabeth Huntley and soloist Rebecca Pacuk for both Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. Their contributions always elevate the holidays’ proceedings. 

The Yom Kippur morning service starts at 10 am on Wednesday, October 5. We are pleased that David Liebschutz will again offer a study session between morning and afternoon services. Our Healing Service will take place at 4 pm, followed by the Afternoon Service at 4:45, Yizkor at 6, and then by N’ilah around 6:45.

Over the course of this first round of holidays (Sukkot and Simchat Torah aren’t far away!) we’re happy to be able to offer 1-hour children’s programs during each of the morning services so our youngest members and guests can engage with the day. And during the evening services, we’ll have opportunities to be led in worship by B’nai Sholom’s new choir!

I look forward to sharing this holiday season with you once again!

L’shanah tovah u’metukah – May you have a good and sweet new year,

Rabbi Danielle Weisbrot

B'nai Sholom Albany NY