No other month has as much sacred choreography as the seventh month of the Hebrew calendar year, Tishrei: the month of Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur and Sukkot, the Feast of Booths, ancient Israel's fall harvest festival. Rosh Hashanah, perhaps the most universalist of the Jewish holidays, celebrates the creation of Adam and Eve, and inaugurates a period of deep introspection and reflection, heshbon ha-nefesh, personal accountability, leading to Yom Kippur, a day of at-one-ment with one's God and one's fellow human beings. Five days later we celebrate, z'man simhateynu, the season of our joy, it is a celebration marked by liturgy and choreography taking us back to the agricultural origins of the Jewish people. Our Sages suggest that the 70 bulls offered in the ancient Temple in Jerusalem on Sukkot represented each of the then-known nations of the world. Prayers were offered for rain to fall as a blessing in its proper season.
For an agrarian society, highly dependent on rainfall, Sukkot marked the end of the annual harvest: the barley of Passover, the wheat of the Feast of Weeks, the vintage in anticipation of the fall festivals. Only for the festival of Sukkot does the Torah mandate joy three times: "You shall celebrate in your festival ... and you shall have nothing but joy" [Deuteronomy 16:14, 15] and "...and you shall rejoice before the Lord your God seven days" [Leviticus 23:40]. There is not even one command to rejoice on Passover; only one command to rejoice on Shavuot, seven weeks later. A fifth century rabbinic compilation, the Pesiqta de-Rav Kahana, suggests that on Passover, the beginning of the harvest cycle, we do not know whether crops will be plentiful or not. On Shavuot, while field crops have been brought in, we do not know whether our fruit harvest will be successful. Since we are more anxious about our lives than our possessions, there is no command to rejoice on Rosh Hashanah, the traditional Day of Judgment. Having received pardon on Yom Kippur, the Day on Atonement, field crops have been gathered, as have fruits of the tree. The harvest year has come to an end: we rejoice either in its plenty and abundance or in the awareness that the next agricultural cycle may be more productive. In either event, we rejoice. As we became more urban, the Jewish community lost sight of the vital connection between the New Year, the Day of Atonement, personal accountability, and the prayer for rain that concludes the sacred days of Tishrei, on Shemini Hag Ha-atzeret, the eighth day of solemn assembly.
Long before the Star of David came to be associated with Jews, the arba-at ha-minim, the four species, the lulav and etrog, the festive bouquet of willow, myrtle, etrog [citron] and palm, were among the quintessential Jewish symbols in the rabbinic period. They still are to be found on the mosaic floors of late antiquity synagogues and in the Jewish catacombs of ancient Rome. Most of the oldest liturgical choreography continues to be practiced during Sukkot, with the ritual waving of the lulav and etrog, and festive processions around the synagogue, culminating in a seven cycle procession on the last day of Sukkot, Hoshannah Rabbah. As worshippers sway with the festive branches, singing the words of Hallel, psalms of praise, it is not difficult to imagine one's self intimately and intricately tied to the natural world.
Each item in the bouquet requires differing degrees of water: the palm requires very little; the willow a great deal, myrtle suffices with rainwater, the etrog depends on human irrigation. On Sukkot, at the turn of the season from dry to rainy, we emphasize the importance of water and its impact on how things will grow. A prayer for rain is inserted into the liturgy, imploring that rain will fall at its proper time. On Shemini Atzeret, the Eighth Day of Solemn Assembly, the concluding festival of Sukkot, Jewish tradition inserts a prayer for rain as we add the phrase "Who causes the wind to blow and rain to fall" to daily prayer. Congregation and reader ask for rain as blessing, not curse; for life, not death, for abundance, not famine. Witness the devastations this past summer, fires burning out of control across parched once verdant farm and forest - and now wasteland; devastating rains, winds, and floods, cycles of drought, evidence of climate change above and beyond El Niño and La Niña. While much can or may be ascribed to natural quasiperiodic fluctuations, pattern and recurring patterns, it seems increasingly clear there is more than passive human intervention and involvement in the warming of our planet.
Sukkot reminds us of our connection to God from whose universal design the rains come, and the need to acknowledge personal responsibility in assuring that the rains come in season. Among the interpretations given to the arba-at ha-minim is that the willow represents the human eye, the willow the mouth, the etrog the heart, and the palm the spine-eyes, mouth, heart and spine. With but a slight variation, Sukkot and its festive bouquet serve as an annual reminder of the need for head, heart, soul and spine, using that which animates us to animate others in active stewardship of this planet we call home.
Shabbat Shalom, Rabbi Barry Kenter
A Message from the President
Dear Members and Friends,
...Reflections on our Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur:
I want to thank so many that made these days of awe so inspirational and meaningful.
To Rabbi Kenter for leading us, teaching us, and moving us to appreciate our traditions, heritage and faith. We are so fortunate to have his guidance and experience and wisdom to navigate these in-between times.
To Zach Golden, our 5th year Rabbinic student that just happens to have an amazing voice.
To Jon and Reba Alper for making arrangements for Rabbi/Cantor Golden's stay and our flowers for Rosh Hashanah.
To Michelle Bannon and Ruth Smith for making arrangements for Rabbi Kenter's stay.
To Sharon Spivak for our flowers for our windows and the beautiful arrangement on the Bima.
To our ushers, Yves Sion and Chuck Josephson and all those that participated in services. Gabbi's' Gail Ginsberg, Alan Gerberg.
To Walter Winter for assigning Alliyot.
To Diane Gerberg and Sisterhood for our apples and honey and our Break Fast and Scott Diamond for the Bloody Mary Bar!
To Efraim Jaronowski and Men's Club for our Yizkor books and his haunting blowing of the Shofar.
To Sophie & the Zeldin family for the Good Shepherd Food Drive
Friday morning, please come and help put our Sukkah up at 10:30.
Please check the website and Newsletter for upcoming Sukkot service times and don't forget to make reservations for the annual
Men's Club Sukkot dinner on Friday, October 18th
Call the office to make reservations.
This Shabbat, services are at 7:00 pm with a
PRE-NEG THAT BEGINS AT 6:30.
Shabbat morning services begin at 9:30 and we will be concluding the final reading of our Torah. Please join us.
Shabbat Shalom and see you in Shul,
First, I wish each of you L'Shana Tova. I hope it is a good and healthy year for each one of you and your family.
As we approach year-end, we still have quite a few members who have not yet paid any dues for calendar year 2019, or who have only paid a small portion of their dues. You should know who you are because we recently sent out bills, around September 25, showing your outstanding balances.
I would like to ask those of you who still owe dues for calendar year 2019 to make payment in full at this time. (For those of you who pay regularly, either on a monthly or quarterly basis, that is fine; please continue to do so.) If you are unsure as to your outstanding balance, please send me an email firstname.lastname@example.org, or call me at 702-612-1200.
You can check you balance and make payments by clicking on the link below and going into YOUR ACCOUNT on our Website..
It is important to the synagogue to try to begin 2020 on a clean financial slate.
For this year (2019) those of you who received an Aliyah or other High Holiday honor are not being billed, as we have done in the past. However, if you are so inclined, we would gladly accept and appreciate a donation! If you are unsure as to an amount to donate, you can be guided by what you contributed last year. (Feel free to call me if you would like a suggestion). Please remember that any contributions for Aliyahs or other High Holiday honors are separate from your Yom Kippur pledge.
Finally, we would appreciate the prompt payment of your Yom Kippur pledge.
As I hope you know, your annual dues only cover approximately 63% of the synagogue's annual operating budget. Thus, we depend upon the generosity of our members to make donations to cover the shortfall. Thank you in advance for your generosity.
Again, L'Shana Tova to each of you.
Jerry Smith, Treasurer
Come Build our Sukkah
Sukkot First Day
Sunday, Oct. 13
Monday, Oct. 14
Friday, Oct. 18
Monday, Oct. 21
Tuesday, Oct. 22
office will be closed
Oct. 14-15 (M&T)
Oct 21-22 (M&T)
10:15 am - Noon
**Please make a reservation by calling or emailing the Shul office.
910.762.1117 ~ email@example.com
Birthdays and Anniversaries
Birthdays and Anniversaries come from your ShulCloud Member Profile.
If your special day is NOT included here, please check your profile and add the dates. If you are not sure how to do that, contact Kate Maclay in the office for help at firstname.lastname@example.org
We offer prayers of healing for the following:
***Each week we will show our
members and their families who wish to be on the Misheberach list. Names will remain on the list for 3 months unless you ask us to remove them earlier.
Contact our office to add or remove names.
The names of those who are not members but whom you wish to
receive prayers will be read at Shabbat services.
5780 5-11 Tishri
October 5-11, 2019
Father of Alan Dubs
Mother of Barbara Laniado
Mother of Erica Julien
Father of Howard Grotsky
Mother of Howard Grotsky
Grandfather of Steve Levine & Sharon Mechum
Grandmother of Mindy Krasnipol
Sister of Susan Turner
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