Shanah Tovah!

September 18, 2020 / 29 Elul 5780

Dear friends,

Shalom, shalom larachok v’lakarov amar Adonai. 

Shalom: shalom to those who are far off, shalom to those who are near, says Adonai.

(Isaiah 57:19)

These words of welcome, included at the beginning of the Rosh Hashanah evening service in the mahzor our community uses, feel particularly bittersweet this year. While we may always be mindful of the people who are not with us on the holidays, this year we are especially aware of the people who are far away, who we long to have near to us. We are unable to gather close together as a community in the way that we might like. Our celebration of the holidays will look very different this year. 

A socially-distant Rosh Hashanah may not be what any of us would have chosen, but our situation has been an impetus for creativity. Though physically far apart, we are finding new ways to connect and to join together in a community. Through our virtual experience, we are able to connect with friends and neighbors who may be joining us for the first time. I wish we could offer you a warm, in-person welcome, but we extend you a hearty virtual bruchim haba’im (welcome!) and hope we will have the chance to connect in person soon.

I have attached a digital copy of the Guide to the High Holy Days at Home that was distributed with the physical copies of the mahzor. We will be using study texts found in the packet on the second day of Rosh Hashanah, so please have them handy if you are planning to join us for the service. If you would like to be sure to have a physical copy available, please feel free to print before the holiday. 

The packet also includes resources to support your celebration of the holidays at home. You will find a guide to holiday rituals and traditions, suggestions for prayer at home, and additional readings that we will use on the second day of Rosh Hashanah. I hope you will find them useful and meaningful. And look out for a surprise at the end of the packet to keep things interesting!

On this Rosh Hashanah, may we all find meaning, connection, and renewal for the year ahead. 

L’shanah tovah tikateivu v’techateimu – May you be inscribed and sealed for a good year.