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A Word from Senior Rabbi Craig Marantz

Shanah tovah!

I hope you are all enjoying a good and happy new year. I am so delighted to have celebrated Rosh Hashanah with you. I appreciate your warm and lovely welcome. And, with Yom Kippur ahead, I look forward to helping you make a meaningful fast.

I heard excellent feedback about previewing my Rosh Hashanah sermons. So, I thought I would do the same for Yom Kippur. (And, you can look forward to my posting sermons on line after the Yamim Nora'im).

On Kol Nidre, I will give a sermon entitled: "Happiness Can Be Found in the Darkest of Times, If One Only Remembers to Turn on the Light." In these dark, pessimistic, even nihilistic times, Judaism still calls on us to be an or la'goyim, a light unto the nations. To kindle hope through faith and responsibility. To be the change we seek amidst uncertainty. This sermon reminds us how we can turn on that light most brightly, lending comfort, healing, and most hopefully, happiness to our lives, our community, our nation and our world.

On Yom Kippur morning, during the Family Service, I look forward to presenting a story based on a chasidic tale called "The Tear of Repentance." It's about a special bird called the Ziz, known in Jewish folklore, as the king of all birds. Anyway, the Ziz is learning the importance of the hardest word to say and really mean it, "Sorry." I look forward to building on my Erev Rosh Hashanah sermon on the art and practice of apology.

In the main service on Yom Kippur morning, I will offer a sermon entitled: "In Defense of Civility." Like many, if not most, of you, I am concerned about the growing incivility in our lives, whether private or public. And, Judaism has a lot to say about how humanity can tame our rude and crude attitudes, shore up moral divides, and make our planet not only more polite but more gracious and dignified. My sermon will lend insight into some of that enduring conversation.

In the afternoon, I will drash briefly on the Torah portion which comes from Leviticus 19, also known as the Holiness Code, which calls us to be holy because God is holy and reflects our legacy as a mamlekhet kohanim, v'goi kadosh--a kingdom of priests and a holy nation. What is the significance of this teaching in our own times.

And, for Yizkor, I hope to comfort you with a short sermon called "Finding Resilience in the Uncertainty of Loss."

I always appreciate your feedback on service, sermons and whatever makes prayer matter for you.

Gamar chatimah tovah! May our inscription in the Book of Living be good....


Rabbi Craig Marantz

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