When I was a child, I experienced the High Holy Day season as a time of solemnity, mixed with a fair bit of dread. After all, we read in the mahzor that on these days we are judged, our fate is written and sealed: “Who will live and who will die, who in his time and who before his time…” These words impressed upon me the feeling that each new year held a disaster to be averted.
However, only shortly after that line is what I believe to be the key sentiment of this period of the Jewish calendar. We turn to God and declare, “Until the moment of death, you wait for us. If we return to you, you immediately accept us.” All our lives, God calls out to us, “Return to Me, and I will return to you!”
This season is an opportunity for us to show up.
From the beginning of the month of Elul (August 22), Sephardic communities will awaken early each morning to chant and sing penitential prayers, selihot. Following Ashkenazic custom, we will do the same on the Saturday night before Rosh haShannah (September 16). Together with Jews throughout the world, we will sound the shofar after morning prayers throughout the month.
These rituals are a reminder for us to wake up. They summon us to bring awareness to the gap between who we have been, who we know we can be, and who we long to be. They call us to allow our hearts to be moved and draw us to action.
In this season and at this moment we have the opportunity to change the course of our lives. We can dedicate ourselves to living better – more peacefully, joyfully, and generously. This is a time to confront the obstacles that hinder us from devoting ourselves fully to our community, our families, and the commitments we hold dear.
May we and all Israel answer God’s call and bring ever greater blessing to ourselves, each other, and the world.
Kever Avot Service
Sunday, September 17th at 2:00pm at the Fitchburg Jewish Cemetery.
Lulav and Etrog
Fall harvest time approaches, and that means gathering together the four species from the land of Israel that we wave on Sukkot – the palm, myrtle, and willow branches and the citron fruit. They help us celebrate the land’s abundance; the sound they make echoes our prayers for rain in Israel throughout the winter.
This year, we have a special opportunity for a discounted rate on our lulav and etrog sets – $31 instead of $50. Call the synagogue office to place your order before Monday, September 18. Payment must be made when you order.
Giving Tzedakah Before Yom Kippur
Like other holidays, Yom Kippur is an important opportunity to give generously to others. It is also a time to model the open-heartedness and concern that we anticipate receiving from God and those whom we have wronged.
As we enter the synagogue for Kol Nidrei on the evening of Yom Kippur, there will be a table with baskets for various charities available to receive our donations. May this be one step toward bringing healing to ourselves and those around us.
Please return your Dues Forms to the synagogue by September 30th . We need to know what your dues will be in order to plan our new fiscal year. It is very important to send in your form so that we know your intentions even if you do not plan on paying immediately.
High Holy Days tickets are available at the synagogue office. Tickets may be mailed by sending a stamped self-addressed envelope with your request to the synagogue. Guest tickets are $35/person.
Parents: Please return your registration forms and book fee for our religious school as soon as possible.
A Celebration of Jewish Learning, sponsored by the Jewish Federation of Central Mass, will be held in Worcester on Saturday night, November 18. More info to follow.
Brian’s Brook on Thursday, September 21 Immediately following the conclusion of Rosh Hashanah Services
A High Holy Day Food Drive
The prophet Isaiah said:
This is my chosen fast…
share your bread with the hungry,
take the homeless into your home,
clothe the naked when you see him,
do not turn away from people in need
Please take a shopping bag on
Rosh Hashana, September 21,
fill with groceries and return it when you come to services on Kol Nidre
This year, this fast – join MAZON and remember those who have no choice in their fast. Choose to work toward a future where no one in America goes hungry.
Donate today, and give millions of Americans a sweet New Year – where they are not forgotten, not ignored, and certainly not hungry. mazon.org or (800) 813-0557
Tot Chag Services
All of our youngest guests and congregants are invited to join Ashira Zehavi, Becky Kaija, Alana Clements, and Lauren Farb in our new Childrens’ Room for Tot Chag (Holiday) services on Rosh Hashana, September 21 and on Yom Kippur, September 30 at 10:00 a.m. (new time). The morning will be filled with new songs and old favorites, kid-friendly prayers, holiday information, Torah stories, snacks of grapes and cheese, and free-play time with each other. The morning is designed for children ages newborn to 7, but all are welcome. Bring your friends and family! We hope to have a great crowd with lots of ruach (spirit)! And keep an eye out for our upcoming monthly Tot Shabbat dates.
Join us for festive Sukkot Services!
Thursday, October 5th 9:30am with Lulav & Etrog
Saturday, October 7th 9:30am with reading Kohelet
Kiddush in the Sukkah!
Our Fall Holidays continue on Thursday, October 12 at 9:30am
Shemini Atzeret Services with Yizkor……Then
SIMCHAT TORAH A SPECIAL CELEBRATION
Thursday evening, October 12, 6:30 p.m.
Celebrate with the band, Mashke Come dance, sing, and parade with the torah!
JOIN IN ALL THE JOY AND CELEBRATION
OF THE HOLIDAY!
Refreshments will be served!
A SPECIAL THANK YOU TO THE SCHARMETT FAMILY
& THE FAY SCHARMETT FUND FOR SPONSORING THIS EVENT
Please note: The High Holiday Calendar will be sent as a separate e-mail. Copies are also available on the bulletin board in the synagogue foyer.
CELEBRATE A SIMCHA by purchasing a leaf – $300, or a stone – $1,500 on the Simcha Tree, or a page in the Golden Book for $150.
YAHRZEIT MEMORIAL PLAQUES will memorialize your loved ones forever. The cost of a plaque is $360. To order leaves or plaques, please contact the synagogue office.