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High Holy Days

There are many people who only attend services on the High Holy Days. Some folks come to meet old friends and acquaintances. Others attend because what else would a Jew be doing on Rosh Hashanah or Yom Kippur? Then there are the vast multitudes who show up as penance for not attending during the year.

Judaism provides us with "warm up" exercises to get ready for the Holy Days. Each day of the month of Elul, which starts on August 23 - the shofar is blown in order to awaken our souls. We also read Psalm 27 in which we entreat God to show us the way and lead us on a level path. These are spiritual gymnastics so that we don't jump into the deep end of the pool without a life vest.

There is also a special service which is held the week before Rosh Hashanah called Selichot. The music and themes of the Holy Days are introduced and aid us in the process of teshuvah - returning: returning to our own best selves and acknowledging our God-given gifts. We begin the process of personal introspection of our own faults and examine our relationships. We approach those we have wronged with humility in the hope that they can forgive us for hurt, damage or distress we have caused.

This year's Community Selichot Service will be held at Brith Sholom on Saturday, September 16. (Further details to follow.) As the Holy Day season approaches, I wish you the blessing of personal compassion.

 

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