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Making Yom Kippur More Meaningful

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:

Healing Service

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.

Personal Reflections

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.

General Notes:

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 Smolensky gave.

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 understand.

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.

Sermon Preview 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.

Morning Minyan 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!

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