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The High Holidays are a sacred time on the Jewish calendar for intense personal reflection and spiritual growth. Our weekly email series, YOU ARE HERE, is designed to help make this time personally meaningful. Look for an email from Beth El every Friday through October 18 with a video teaching from our clergy, a personal reflection from a Beth El member, liturgical music, and High Holiday programming details. May this be a season of growth, renewal, and reflection for you. Shana Tovah!
Rabbi Jesse Olitzky: Forgiveness and Elul

Continuing our YOU ARE HERE series, Rabbi Olitzky teaches on forgiveness during the month of Elul:

"While this time of Elul is meant to help us come closer to God, we can’t really become closer to God until we focus on our relationships with one another. But this hard and necessary work begins with ourselves. We need to dig down deep to love ourselves. Then we turn to one another.”

Elul as a Month for Environmental Awareness

Since Rosh Hashanah celebrates the "birthday of the world," the preceding month of Elul can be a time to focus on our duty to preserve God's creation through environmental awareness and action.

Hazon, the Jewish nonprofit which promotes sustainability, lists activities for Elul at this link.
Molly Gimbel: On Remembering

Molly Gimbel , Beth El's Youth Program Director, shares this reflection about their grandfather, whom they came to know better after his passing through the simple act of cleaning his former office:

"Rosh Hashanah is also called Yom HaZikaron, the Day of Remembrance, because God remembers each of us that day. I found that as I was learning about and remembering my grandfather, I realized he had remembered me more than I ever knew."

אֶמֶת, אֶמֶת, אֶמֶת, אֶמֶת
אֶמֶת אַתָּה הוּא רִאשוֹן
אַתָּה הוּא אֲחָרוֹן
אֵין לָנוּ מֶלֶךְ
אֵין לָנוּ גוֹאֵל
Emet (x4) Emet ata hu rishon
Ata hu acharon
Ein lanu melech
Ein lanu go’el

"Truth, you are first, you are last, and without you, there is no nobility, no redemption, no salvation."
Rabbi Josh Warshawsky: Emet

Rabbi Josh Warshawsky, the nationally-known Jewish musician, song leader, and composer, returns to Beth El (where he started his career as our JLC Music Specialist!) to join Rabbi Olitzky, Rabbi Marder, and our talented lay daveners to lead us in prayer this High Holiday season. Rabbi Warshawsky will include traditional and original melodies in our worship, and in our YOU ARE HERE email series, we'll introduce you to some of them. This melody is for Emet, from the Shacharit morning liturgy. (Please note that Rabbi Warshawsky will play guitar at Beth El only on Erev Rosh Hashanah -- other services will not include instrumentation.)

Rabbi Warshawsky says of this text:

There is power in truth. Speaking truth to power. Speaking out. This phrase from our liturgy is speaking to the Divine, calling out to The Ultimate Truth by name.

We human beings are unique among the creations because we can lie. This power is a gift and a curse, and with it comes the necessity for human beings to commit to the truth. Only we can bring truth to light, only we have the power to discern truth from lies. It is up to us to prioritize the truth, and so we must decide that truth must come first and not last.
High Holiday Programming: Kesher Minyan

For those looking to learn more about the liturgy of the High Holiday machzor or deepen their understanding of its central themes, we invite you to join us for our Kesher ("connection") minyan. This 75-minute clergy-led service meets on both days of Rosh Hashanah and on Yom Kippur from 10:00am-11:15am in the tent on the patio. The supplemental alternative service includes learning, discussion, text study, meditation, and traditional and new liturgy. In addition to the High Holidays, Rabbi Marder leads a monthly Shabbat morning Kesher Minyan during the year.
Previous Emails in the "You Are Here 5780" Series

Congregation Beth El is an inclusive, egalitarian synagogue affiliated with United Synagogue for Conservative Judaism, serving Essex, Union, and Morris counties. We can be reached by calling 

Jesse M. Olitzky, Rabbi
Rachel A. Marder, Rabbi
Jason Silberfein, Executive Director
Danielle Weitz, Director, Thelma K. Reisman Preschool  
Rivka Nelson, Director of Religious Education
Karen Freeman-Pettis, Assistant Director
Molly Gimbel, Youth Program Director
Terry Pridgen, Coordinator of Maintenance Services

Jehiel Orenstein z"l, Rabbi Emeritus
For more information about Beth El membership, please contact
Membership Chairs , Yuval Brokman and Lisa Buber.