High Holy Days 5778

Rosh Hashanah Wednesday evening, September 20 – Friday, September 22
Kol Nidre/Yom Kippur Friday evening, September 29 – Saturday, September 30

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• A High Holy Day Message:

In the middle

of a life that’s as complicated as everyone else’s,
struggling for balance, juggling time.
The mantle clock that was my grandfather’s
has stopped at 9:20, we haven’t had time
to get it repaired. The brass pendulum is still,
the chimes don’t ring. One day I look out the window,
green summer, the next, the leaves have already fallen,
and grey sky towers over the horizon. Our children almost grown,
our parents gone, it happens so fast. Each day we must learn
Again how to love, between morning’s quick coffee
and evening’s slow return. Steam from a pot of soup rises,  
Mixing with the yeasty smell of baking bread. Our bodies
twine, and the big black dog pushes his great head between;
his tail a metronome, ¾ time. We’ll never get there.
Time is always ahead of us, running down the beach, urging
us on faster, feaster, but sometimes we take off our watches,
sometimes we lie in the hammock, caught between the mesh
Of rope and the net of stars, suspended, tangled up
In love, running out of time.

“In the Middle" by Barbara Crooker, from Yarrow © 1998

The High Holy Days, from Rosh Hashanah to Yom Kippur, bracket ten days given to us to reflect on our lives: How do we use the time we are given? Are we realizing our most authentic selves? What is our accountability and responsibility to self, others and God? This year, Yom Kippur, the Sabbath of Sabbaths, itself falls on Shabbat—the day that Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel called “a sanctuary in time.” We are called during this season to cheshon ha-nefesh—a searching examination of our lives, that we may gain renewed strength and commitment for the tasks before us: tikkun midot—improving our characters and tikkun olam—repairing the world. Please join your presence, your voice and your intentions with those of our community at Beth El’s High Holy Days this year.

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