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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. G'mar Chatimah Tovah!
Rabbi Jesse Olitzky: Shabbat Shuvah and Preparing for Yom Kippur

Continuing our YOU ARE HERE series, Rabbi Olitzky teaches on how we move through the Ten Days of Repentance, and prepare ourselves for Yom Kippur:

"By repenting, we allow ourselves to return, not to how things were, but to the best version of ourselves…Our fate is not yet decided. We determine what our fate will be through teshuvah, and what direction we’ll take in the year to come."

High Holiday Programming:
Three Pillars Learning & Social Action Opportunities

Beth El will continue our Three Pillars program during our Yom Kippur 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.

Please remember to bring cans of nonperishable food with you on Kol Nidre to support the Interfaith Food Pantry!

Ada Beth Cutler: On Unataneh Tokef

Beth El member Ada Beth Cutler shares this reflection on the Unataneh Tokef prayer, as she recalls how two friends lived knowing that they would soon die:

" Are we to take the Unataneh Tokef prayer literally and believe that God knows and even decides by Yom Kippur who shall live and who shall die in the next year? I do not believe that is the lesson of this stirring piyyut. I believe these powerful images help us see and take advantage of the awesome power and possibility of the High Holy Days, while remaining mindful of the fragility of life and the importance of how we conduct ourselves in life."

Rabbi Josh Warshawsky:
K i Hinei Kachomer

כִּי הִנֵּה כַּחֹמֶר בְּיַד הַיּוֹצֵר
בִּרְצוֹתוֹ מַרְחִיב וּבִרְצוֹתוֹ מְקַצֵּר
כֵּן אֲנַחְנוּ בְיָדְךָ חֶסֶד נוֹצֵר
לַבְּרִית הַבֵּט וְאַל תֵּפֶן לַיֵּצֶר

Ki hineh kachomer beyad hayotzer. Birtzoto marchiv uvirtzoto mekatzer. Ken anachnu veyadcha chesed notzer. La'brit habet ve'al tefen la'yetzer.
Rabbi Josh Warshawsky, the nationally-known Jewish musician and composer, joins us again to lead us in prayer on Yom Kippur. Here is one of his original melodies for the holiday.
(Please note that our Yom Kippur services will not include include guitar.)

Ki Hinei Kachomer is one of the central piyutim of Yom Kippur, asking God to remember us and forgive us:

As the clay in the hand of the potter, who, when he wishes expands it and when he wishes contracts it; so are we in Your hand, You who remembers deeds of the loving kindness; Look to the covenant and do not regard our evil inclination. As the stone in the hand of the mason, who, when he wishes retains it and when he wishes smashes it; so are we in Your hand, You who gives life and brings death; Look to the covenant and do not regard our evil inclination.
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.