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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 Rachel Marder: The Power of Teshuvah

Continuing our YOU ARE HERE series, Rabbi Marder teaches on the power of teshuvah, as we prepare to enter Rosh Hashanah in just a few days:

"Jewish tradition offers a path out of our self-destructive behavior. It says: choose teshuvah, the path of moving forward. Teshuvah allows us to say, 'I am not defined by my past. I am defined by what I do next.'"

Join us for a special Tashlich: Rosh Hashanah afternoon
Monday, September 30 • 4:15pm
Rahway bridge near the South Orange Pool (behind South Orange Middle School)

Rabbi Josh Warshawsky will lead us in a musical and reflective Tashlich service on the first day of Rosh Hashanah at 4:15pm . During the Tashlich ceremony we toss bread crumbs into water, symbolically casting off our transgressions and all that we want to leave behind in 5779. Bring a shofar along if you would like to join in our communal shofar blasts.

Marilynn Jacobs: Tashlich and the Afikomen

Beth El member and Past President Marilynn Jacobs, shares this reflection on her family tradition of saving a piece of the afikomen for Tashlich:

"At first, this seemed a playful way to achieve mitzvah goreret mitzvah -- one mitzvah leading to another -- but it has continued to grow in significance for me…Standing half a year apart, Rosh Hashanah and Pesach not only anchor opposite poles of our calendar, they seem to be in conversation about Jewish time itself. We pivot at these equinoctial moments, balancing past and present, pausing to look at where we’ve been in order to understand where we’re going."

הַיּוֹם הֲרַת עוֹלָם הַיּוֹם יַעֲמִיד בַּמִּשְׁפָּט כָּל יְצוּרֵי עוֹלָמִים אִם כְּבָנִים אִם כַּעֲבָדִים אִם כְּבָנִים רַחֲמֵנוּ כְּרַחֵם אָב עַל בָּנִים וְאִם כַּעֲבָדִים עֵינֵינוּ לְךָ תְלוּיוֹת עַד שֶׁתְּחָנֵּנוּ
ותוֹצִיא כָאוֹר מִשְׁפָּטֵנוּ אָיוֹם קָדוֹשׁ

Hayom harat olam, hayom ya’amid bamishpat kol y’tzurei olamim im k’vanim im ka’avadim. Im k’vanim, rachameinu k’racheim av al banim; v’im ka’avadim eineinu l’kha t’luyot ad shet’choneinu v’totzi khaor mishpateinu ayom kadosh
Rabbi Josh Warshawsky: Hayom Harat Olam

Rabbi Josh Warshawsky, the nationally-known Jewish musician and composer, returns to Beth El to join our clergy and lay daveners to lead us in prayer this season. Rabbi Warshawsky will include traditional and original melodies in our worship.
(Please note that Rabbi Warshawsky will play guitar at Beth El only on Erev Rosh Hashanah -- other services will not include instrumentation.)

Hayom Harat Olam is recited on Rosh Hashanah during the Shofar blasts, heralding the fresh start of a new year and the new beginning we hope to achieve through teshuvah:

Today the world stands as at birth. Today all creation is called to judgment, whether as Your children or as Your servants. If as Your children, be compassionate with us as a parent is compassionate with children. If as Your servants, we look to You expectantly, waiting for You to be gracious to us and, as day emerges from night, to bring forth a favorable judgement on our behalf, awe-inspiring and Holy one.
High Holiday Programming:
Three Pillars Social Action Opportunities

Beth El will continue our Three Pillars program during our High Holiday services, based on the three pillars of learning (Torah), prayer (Avodah), and acts of tzedakah (Gemilut Hasadim) that are foundational to the world. Since the High Holidays represent the birthday of the world, we seek to create meaningful spiritual connections through study and action, in addition to worship.

On both days of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, there will be opportunities to engage in participatory learning and acts of tikkun olam, repairing the world:

Rosh Hashanah Day One:
10:00am-11:00am : Baking Apple and Honey Cakes — Join members of the community to bake holiday cakes for residents of Village Apartments of the Jewish Federation and South Orange B’nai B’rith Federation House. Location: Beth El Kitchen

12:00pm-1:00pm Support the Anti-Cruelty Society — Help us make tug toys for rescue shelter dogs that are homeless and ownerless victims of Hurricane Dorian. Location: Lower Level

Rosh Hashanah Day Two:
10:00am-11:00am : Baking Apple and Honey Cakes — Join members of the community to bake holiday cakes for residents of Village Apartments of the Jewish Federation and South Orange B’nai B’rith Federation House. Location: Beth El Kitchen

12:00pm-1:00pm : Hair Bows and Headbands — Make hair accessories for Vegas Cute, a group that delivers hair bows and headbands to hospital-bound children. Location: Lower Level
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.