Shalom Chevrei. Shalom Friends.
I hope you had a special Rosh Hashanah. We enjoyed the effort to bring you a meaningful experience. In anticipation of Yom Kippur, I'd like to give you some insight into what's coming. Please consult your ticket and/or this bulletin for timing and other relevant details. We look forward to welcoming you.
Yom Kippur Afternoon:
Please join us as we initiate our first healing service, focusing on our renewal and wholeness as individuals and as responsive, compassionate members of our families and community.
Meditation and Yoga
Don't miss this great opportunity with Karen Lustig, who blends meditation, yoga and teaching middot (Jewish virtues). This is a great opportunity for mindfulness practice, physical spirituality, and shaping a more complete teshuvah, all from the comfort of your chair.
If you prefer text study, I look forward to introducing you to the Book of Job and the uneasy road of faith Job traveled. Job is an important book to study in times of trouble, as we seek to draw near to God or feel the struggle of doing so.
We are grateful to cellists David and Daniel Hoppe and to our High Holy Day Choir who will fill a segment of our Yom Kippur afternoon with inspiring melodies.
We'll spend time with Kate Grossman and Peter Fidler, who will reflect on the power of words and memory respectively. Peter Fidler and Kate Grossman have been members of Emanuel Congregation since 2011. Peter is a member of Emanuel's Board of Trustees and Kate serves on the religious school and membership committees. Outside Emanuel, Peter is a managing partner at RF Investment Partners. Kate is a senior editor at WBEZ, Chicago's public radio station. She joined WBEZ in 2016 after a long career in print journalism.
The Kaddish List
I sincerely apologize for not reading names of recent deaths and yartzheit before
the Kaddish Erev Rosh Hashanah and the first day. My institutional memory is in
formation, and unfortunately, I thought we read them only during Yizkor. My
mistake. I will surely strive to have better command of these important details.
High Holy Day Service Timing
During the High Holy Days, we aspire to a 90-minute service during evening
prayer, and a 2.5-hour service during the main daytime services. As a whole, on
Rosh Hashanah in particular, we try to lend balance to competing values-- namely
having uninterrupted time to pray, sing and reflect on teshuva and leaving for a
nice luncheon afterward or whatever other important destination calls.
That unbroken time gives us ample space for beautiful music, spiritual uplift,
intellectual rigor, and creative experimentation. It also gives us time to reflect
the wonderful competencies of our congregants, like Rob Moss who chanted
Torah so beautifully. Also, we set aside the space for me to give a full sermon,
which occurs now even in addition to an excellent president’s speech like the one Dan
I want to emphasize here that our time frames are a serious goal, but not a
promise. Moreover, there are many things to enjoy and learn throughout the
entire service from beginning to end; and sometimes there are key
announcements at the end of the service, so please stay so we can help you
know what’s next. We don’t want you to miss out. And, of course, if you feel the
need to get and up and go, you are free to do so, and Cantor Friedman and I will
Sermon Review and Other Evaluative Process
I am delighted to hear from you about sermons, music, the services in general
and their impact on you. In terms of my own workload, I write five full sermons
(which normally range from 1600-2000 words). I tell a story for both of the
family services, give a d’var Torah for Yom Kippur afternoon and a short Yizkor
sermon. I have also prepared three musical pieces for these High Holy Days, and
sometimes I lain Torah and/or Haftarah. All that inspiring work requires
feedback-- both positive and constructive comments. The Spiritual Engagement
and Ritual Team and I will discuss ways we, as a community, might be able to
review my sermons and other aspects of the High Holy Day experience. My
professional team and I really grow from what you have to share with us.
On Yom Kippur, I will focus on a) the creative power of words to build up, tear
down and build back up our lives; and b) the search for dignity and discipline in
disagreement and dispute, as a prelude to a just, compassionate, and broad-
minded Jewish response to immigration and solidarity with our nation’s
immigrants. Of course, last minute edits may create some shifts in focus, but I
like the idea of giving you a heads-up before you arrive.
I have received a request or two to hold a morning minyan, daily or mostly daily.
Is that something you would like to pursue? I would be happy to work with you,
the Spiritual Engagement Team to create such a prayer experience. I think
having shacharit here in the mornings would be transformative.
Gamar chatimah tovah! May you be inscribed and sealed for a good year!
Make it a day of blessing and be a force for good!