We are about to enter the holiest days of the Jewish calendar at the turning of a year of challenge and resilience that was unimaginable when we gathered at shul--sharing hugs and honeycake--last Rosh Hashanah. Indeed, in a few hours, the constant twilight of this smoke-filled week will give way to darkness and we will greet the new year and Shabbat at once.
This year, along with the Jewish people across the globe, KHN has moved our HHD services online. In Talmud we are admonished again and again that Am Israel must 'live with Torah." The Rabbis teach us that the instruction here is not in contrast to “living without Torah”(which was unthinkable and therefore required no instruction), but in contrast to “dying with Torah”, which they expected would be a righteous tension faced by Jews throughout the ages. And so, in our age, we gather online, because no risk to life can be taken in the name of Torah. Instead, we must take every precaution to preserve life and take care of one another.
But it will be hard to be apart from this beloved community, our k’hillah, during these Days of Awe.
Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel taught us that “G-d is not in things of space, but in moments of time.”
This year we have an extreme opportunity to live out this teaching. Even though we are separated in physical space, KHN can use new technologies to enable us to gather to sanctify the time of the High Holy Days. Everyone who puts their intention towards these services--not just the folks caring for the sefer Torah or leading the prayers--are integral to our minyan and are taking part in the mitzvah of observing High Holy Days. We need you!
It is indeed a sweet mercy that these extraordinary High Holy Days start with Shabbat. On Shabbat we understand that things are as they are and we set aside striving to perfect anything. This year's online fomat requires us to innovate and adapt--but not to be perfect.
So we are taking this Shabbat mindset into all of the Days of Awe. We will do our best to honor each mitzvah, to stay present and engaged. but we know we are not in control. There will be internet lags and scrambles and times when we have to reboot. We will breathe in and breathe out and move through all the triumphs and trials with the peace of Shabbat.
These days will be different. Services will be shorter than usual. Our Sefer Torah will be at member's homes who will be opening and closing our virtual ark on our behalf. There are many unknowns and mysteries ahead.
Each service leader is seeking to balance the beauty and consolation of tradition with the innovations needed to gather online. Each service and song leader has stepped up to answer our call to service. Each is outside their own comfort zone, stretching to meet this moment, stepping out in faith like Nashon into the Reed Sea. Each hopes that their offering is accepted. I know you will join me in expressing your gratitude to everyone who has taken the leap to lead these extraordinary services.
So, here we are, a congregation of Nashons, stepping out together into this new unknown. Thank you for joining us. Thank you for helping to carry our ark forward. Thank you for trusting each other.
Shabbat shalom, l'shana tova and YASHUR KOACH!
High Holy Days this week:
Erev Rosh Hashanah Friday, September 18
7pm | Erev Rosh Hashanah Kabbalat Shabbat
led by 5780 Adult B’nai Mitzvah Class,
Sasha Rayburn, Susanna Bluhm-Callahan & Katie Price
Rosh Hashanah Saturday, September 19
9:30am | Little Kid’s Service
led by Toby Kramer & Elizabeth Fagin
10am | Torah Study led by Eric Orlin (note special time!)
11am | Rosh Hashanah Service
an historic KHN service led by our KHN Youth
1:30pm | Hear the Shofar
KHN’s Mobile Shofar Team will be live at
North Lincoln Park, South Lincoln Park,
Lady Liberty at Alki Beach, Madrona Beach,
Mount Baker Beach and North Greenlake
All the HHD links and watch info can be found here.
I hope you join us in as many services and activities as will enliven and encourage you during the High Holy Days. Here we go!