Oct. 3, 2010
"Turn it and turn it and turn it again," says Rabbi Ben Bag Bag when he refers to Torah study in Pirkei Avot. And in Ecclesiastes we read. "for everything there is a season, a time for every experience under heaven" The frequency and inevitability of the seasons is not up to us. Where we are, what we do and how we experience it all is our great task as members of this Kehilla Kedosha, this "holy congregation" of Peninsula Temple Sholom.
We just finished observing the Yamim Noraim, "The Days of Awe."
Many new moments and experiences were carefully added this year with the help of a small but mighty force of PTS worker/angels. Committees in charge of service participation met for several months in the early morning hours and many times into the late night. These giving people were often members of other PTS groups, as well.
Our dedicated Usher Corps, Sholom Woman, Brotherhood and our PTS Board were all there -- ready and, as always, willing to work. Amy Mallor and our super office staff of miracle workers -- Georgina Baca, Bev Rochelle, Joshua Acfalle and Jerry Ezrin made sure it all ran smoothly. And "Super Volunteer" Gary Fishtrom was everywhere.
This year, it was a great pleasure to sit with Rabbi Feder and Rabbi Martin Weiner as we went over the many details of our High Holy Day Services. This year had more new moments embedded in the services than ever before.
On those early mornings I enjoyed seeing Rabbi Feder and Rabbi Weiner together -- as Rabbis and as great friends.
Singing, chanting and praying with me was a new and different Temple quartet.
This all came about with the help of my childhood friend, Cantor Don Ososke, and PTS Temple member Soprano Lenore Wilkas. I have lost track of how many hours we spent modifying and creating new music, but I know that they were a part of every working second. Lenore and Don also sang with our Sholom Chorale for our Second Day Rosh Hashanah Community service.
Helping us put it all together was our Temple maestro, Charles Calhoun.
Charles has never refused my requests -- even those "out there" experiments.
It is a great pleasure to have his expertise as a musician and it is a gift from God to have his great giving spirit and friendship.
Between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, when Charles' mother z"l became gravely ill, he and his wife Khin, flew to Tennessee and were able to be with her at her bedside when she passed. I hope that the coming months will bring some comfort and peace to Charles and his family. May her memory continue to be for a blessing.
In the ruach department, and flying very high, were our Teen Singers.
You could see them rehearsing on so many Monday nights in the sanctuary, and in the end, creating such beautiful moments during the early- and late-evening services for Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. and at our final Neilah Service, as they sang the last T'kia G'dola before Rabbi Feder's call and April Glatt's awesome shofar blast.
Zimriyah singers, led by my Co- Director and Conductor, Dr. Kim Kirkwood, added so much to make our congregational hope and prayer of Shma Koleynu so meaningful.
Our Hava Nashir Band was there, playing behind all of our voices, and I was especially moved by Dr Lauren Gerson's beautiful playing of the Kol Nidre melody on Kol Nidre.
On Yom Kippur day, during Yizkor, we listened to the haunting melody of El Mole Rachamim, played soulfully by Joyce Robbins. We finished Neilah, and sang Havdalah.
A candle for Havdalah, with paired wicks, tells us we each have that potential to increase the goodness in this world and we should not do less.
Turn it and turn it and turn it again are words that describe our observance of Sukkot and, then, Simchat Torah. We read the final verses of Torah and then immediately began our Torah study and our Jewish Torah year again. How it all turns depends on us and our continued devotion to our heritage and our families.
Pirkei Avot tells us we should work as if everything depends on us and pray as if everything depends on God.
I've got just the place for all that to happen, and it is PTS!