Aug. 22, 2010
The High Holy Days represent a special time for Jews around the world, including our PTS community.
We have the opportunity to reflect on the year that has passed; share the sweetness of the New Year with our friends and family; repent for our sins; engage in gemilut chasadim (acts of loving kindness); and pray that we will be inscribed in the Book of Life for another year.
As we approach this holiday season, I want to share with you some of the changes you will see in this year's High Holy Day services.
As has been our custom for many years, we invite our members to join our clergy on the bimah to help lead us in prayer. Whether it be chanting a prayer in Hebrew, carrying the Torah, or opening the ark doors, our members have participated beautifully in our High Holy Day worship services. This year, we have made a concerted effort to extend these "honors" to a broader spectrum of congregants, including our teens, Preschool families, and newer members.
Rest assured, you also will still see a number of familiar faces -- longtime congregants whose support and participation we continue to cherish.
We have been blessed to have Cantor Barry Reich chant Kol Nidre, and lead our congregation in the musical components of our High Holy Day worship services for more than 40 years. With Rabbi Feder's and Cantor Barry's blessing, we have eliminated the professional High Holy Day choir this year.
In their stead, we will have a High Holy Day "quartet" comprised of several congregants and Cantor Barry; additional songs from our teens; and beautiful music from our Sholom Chorale (on the second day of Rosh Hashanah).
This year will mark Rabbi Feder's fifth year officiating at our High Holy Day services. We are honored that he will be joined on our bimah by Rabbi Martin Weiner, who many of us know as the Rabbi Emeritus of Congregation Sherith Israel, long-term friend of Rabbi Raiskin z"l and mentor to Rabbi Feder.
In addition, we will welcome Ira Levin back to help officiate at our "family" worship services on both Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur.
While we all will miss our dear Rabbi Ettlinger, I am confident that she will lead beautifully her new congregation in Melbourne, Australia.
Joanna and I wish you and your families a happy and healthy New Year!