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114
09/26/2012 08:00 PM Posted by:

From the Desk of Rabbi David Lyon
September 28, 2012

My favorite time of year is here. The High Holy Days are done. The solemn days of Yom Kippur are concluded, and the time known as “z’man simchateinu” the season of our joy begins with Sukkot. This fall holiday tells the story of our ancestors who lived in Sukkot (booths) during their wilderness journey from Egypt to the Promised Land. Though temporary, the Sukkot provided physical shelter and spiritual awareness of God’s help along the way. A primary way for us to feel, at once, the security of a physical shelter and the spiritual awareness of God’s presence is to build our own Sukkah, or at least to spend time in one. Torah teaches us to observe the holiday for seven days (Leviticus 23:41), and to welcome guests to join us for meals and celebration in the Sukkah. With our lulav (willow, myrtle and palm branches) and etrog, we wave them together in all directions to symbolize that God’s presence is everywhere.

                The fall season also marks the beginning of our full programming schedule. Try to join us for all that you can and if I missed anything here, always check Beth Israel’s website at www.beth-israel.org for the latest updates, programs and events. From Sukkot through Simchat Torah, there’s a lot going on…join us!

 

  • Friday, September 28th, 6:30pm sanctuary, Shabbat Shirah — a lively musical celebration to welcome the Season of our Joy. Come sing with us!
  • Sunday, September 30th, 6:30pm, Sukkot Celebration for adults with great food and friends in Wolff-Toomim Family Meditation Garden
  • Monday, October 1st, 10:30am, 1st Day Festival Sukkot Services, Gordon Chapel
  • Tuesday, October 2nd, 7:00pm promptly, 92nd Street Y LIVE Simulcast with Thomas L. Friedman, “That Used to Be Us: How America Fell Behind in the World it Invented and How We Can Come Back”, Wolff-Toomim Hall
  • Wednesday, October 3rd, 10:00-11:30am, “Countdown 2012: Jewish Insights into Election Issues” Topic: Healthcare, Finger Board Room
  • Sunday, October 7th, 5:30pm to 6:30pm, Congregational Family Dinner for Simchat Torah; 6:30pm to 7:30pm, Simchat Torah Celebration, main sanctuary
  • Monday, October 8th, 10:30am, Simchat Torah/Yizkor, Gordon Chapel

 

                I am very grateful for your support through personal participation and generous gifts to underwrite special events throughout the year such as Shabbat Shirah, 92Y events, adult education and youth activities. Through “Share the Load” giving you make it possible to bring the very best to all our members and to make favorite events our highest priorities.

                Please share this weekly E-News with friends, click on www.beth-israel.org every week, and read the Bulletin when it arrives at your home. We’re eager to embark on a sweet New Year with you!

                Once more, on behalf of all the clergy, staff and leaders of Congregation Beth Israel, best wishes for the sweetest of new years filled with God’s blessings for life, good health, and peace.

                From my family to yours, Shabbat Shalom.


113
09/20/2012 07:00 AM Posted by:

From the Desk of Rabbi David Lyon
September 21, 2012

 

This weekend is Shabbat Shuvah. It means the Sabbath of Return or the Sabbath of Repentance. It’s the Sabbath that falls between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. During these Ten Days of Repentance, we use every opportunity to think about how we can return to God; and if not to God, per se, then to all that God created us to be. Literal perfection is out of reach; but, human improvement is always possible.

                There are two relationships that we aim to secure. One is called “Bein Adam l’Makom” or the one between God and us. This relationship is made whole through acts of repentance, prayer and tzedakah (charity). That is, the Day of Atonement makes atonement between us.

                The other relationship we aim to secure is called “Bein Adam l’Chaveiro” or the one between others and us. Our relationship with family, friends, neighbors and acquaintances needs repair, too. But, the Day of Atonement, alone, doesn’t make atonement for us. Rather, it requires a personal apology for the specific transgression we committed against them knowingly and unknowingly.

                It isn’t always easy to reach those whom we offended. Even when they are close, like family and dear friends, we have to identify the transgression, muster up the courage and then find the words to seek forgiveness. In the event that they are far from home or simply unreachable, our communal worship experience also satisfies part of the requirement. We share a litany of transgressions all of which speak to the persons we are aiming to become.

                You might be wondering which relationship do we repair first, or do we tend to them together? In fact, it is the relationship between others and us that we approach first. As I have taught before, God is fine. Before we make things right before God, we must approach our fellow human beings. Ethics trump rituals, and we must make amends between us before we can approach God to say, “Forgive me, for I have sinned.” Sincere efforts and participation in acts of atonement provide the pathway in our liturgy where God responds to us, “I forgive you, as you have requested.”

                As Yom Kippur nears, we wish each other, “G’mar Chatimah Tovah” may you be SEALED in the Book of Life for a good year. It is always our hope that as the metaphorical book is opened and our names are inscribed in it, that it should be sealed with our names and the names of those whom we love for a year of sweetness, goodness and peace.

 

                For our High Holy Day services, please tell those who cannot attend personally that they can tune in LIVE for Kol Nidrei at 6:30pm, Tuesday, September 25th, and for Yom Kippur Day from 12:00pm thru 6:00pm (not between 2:00-3:00pm). Just go to www.beth-israel.org, and click Streaming Video. Any device with an internet connection, including iphones and ipads, will work.

 

From my family to yours, may you be sealed in the Book of Life for a good year. G’mar Chatimah Tovah.


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