A Bissel of This… A Bissel of That…

 September 2018 Newsletter Article

Although I did not grow up speaking Yiddish, there are a few fun and colorful phrases that I love. One of them is “a bissel of this and a bissel of that”, meaning a little bit of this and a little bit of that! There is so much going on at Congregation Shalom in these early days of 2018-2019 that I want to share a bissel about a lot of different things!

Selichot Program/Service:  Although many Jews think that the High Holiday season begins with Rosh HaShanah, the true preparation begins in the prior month of Elul during which time we are supposed to engage in a process of self-reflection and soul-searching. During Elul and throughout the holiday season, Jews may recite selichot (forgiveness) prayers, emphasizing the inner work of the Days of Awe. In addition, many congregations have developed the tradition of observing Selichot on the Saturday evening prior to Rosh HaShanah. There is usually some type of program of study as well as special Selichot service. One of the more moving moments of this service is when we actually change the Torah covers from those used during the year to the special covers designed for the High Holidays. These covers, usually white, represent purity and renewal.

Typically, if Rosh HaShanah falls on a Sunday night, as it does this year, the Selichot service would be held the week before. Since this date, however, would fall during Labor Day, we have decided to go ahead and hold our program and service on Saturday night, September 8th, at 7:30 pm. Lynne Rothstein and I are excited to lead a program we are calling: Broadway’s Insight for the New Year! We hope that this program, filled with music you love, will inspire you and uplift you at the same time. The music and lyrics will become the template for us to reflect on themes of the Days of Awe. No need to be musical to participate. Although there is no need to RSVP, since we will have food, it will be helpful to know if you are coming. You can let us know at office@congregationshalom.org. If you would like to read more about Selichot, please click here for the link to a wonderful article at Reform Judaism’s website. In this newsletter, there is also a more in-depth column about the High Holidays and all the services we offer at Congregation Shalom.

Adult Education: Our Adult Education committee continues to work on preparing for the new year to create meaningful opportunities for learning. In the days ahead we hope to share a more detailed overview of our programs, but in the near term, if you are interested in participating in an adult Hebrew course focused on learning the liturgy of our services, with some level of fluency as well as vocabulary, please let me know. As long as you can read Hebrew you will fit in. Please let me know (rabbi@congregaitonshalom.org) if you are interested in these classes that will be offered on Sunday mornings during religious school.

Social Justice/Looking Ahead:  As you may know we sent a large delegation of staff and members to the Consultation on Conscience a year and a half ago. This inspiring program on social justice happens every two years. In case you are interested in participating in this year’s program, I wanted to share the dates: May 19- 21, 2019. The Consultation on Conscience is the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism’s biennial social justice leadership conference. The program, held in DC, is a three-day program dedicated to training and empowering Jewish leaders to make a real, lasting change at the national, state and local levels. In addition to learning these skills, we will lobby on The Hill with hundreds of other members of Reform synagogues on the critical issues facing our communities. Collectively we have the power to bring about important change. We hope you will consider joining us for this program. More info will follow.

Looking forward to seeing you in the days ahead, and I wish you and your family a Happy, Healthy and Transformative New Year.

Warm Regards,
Shoshana M. Perry