A High Holy Day Message from Rabbi Marantz and Cantor Friedman

At the moment we stand before our creator in judgment it is as if there is no one else in the world except for us. We alone are responsible for all that we did or did not do. - (Rabbi Shlomo Wolbe, 1914-2005)

One of the reasons the High Holidays are literally so awesome is how powerful the personal responsibility for teshuva--to summon the humility, courage, and persistence to mend what is broken between us and God, to heal what is fractured between us and the people we love, to repair ourselves and the world around us. This is difficult, exhausting, even scary work that no one can do for us. We must do our part on our own.

That said, even when we’ve taken up our individual responsibility to set our lives straight and to improve life, it’s nice to know we have a community around us--a community that never left; a community that always remains ready to embrace us and walk with us; a community always prepared to steady us when our steps feel infirm and our spiritual balance unsteady.

I am glad we aspire to be such a community. Thank you. What a delight it is to walk with you.

On behalf of Betsy, Cara, and Jared, I wish you a shanah tovah u’m’tukah, a good and sweet year.

Make it a day of blessing and be a force for good! Zei gezunt:

Rabbi Craig Marantz

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Do not imagine that character is determined at birth. We have been given free will. Any person can become as righteous as Moses or as wicked as Jereboam. We ourselves decide whether to make ourselves learned or ignorant, compassionate or cruel, generous or miserly. No one forces us, no one decides for us, no one drags us along one path or the other; we ourselves, by our own volition, choose our own way. – (Maimonides)

During these days of reflection and self-evaluation, I prepare for the High Holy Days by keeping these words at the forefront of my mind. My choices are my own; and yet how have they affected those I care for? Have I really been a partner in Tikkun Olam, or

merely provided for my own needs before that of the greater good? For me, the most comforting property of the High Holy Days is that we can be renewed; cleansed of the mistakes in judgement we have made when we ask forgiveness from God and more importantly, those we have hurt. We may look ahead with hope, giving thanks for the miracle of renewal, and for the promise of the good that lies within all of us.

Elias, Emma, Julia and I wish you a year of peace and joy.

Cantor Michelle Drucker Friedman

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Emanuel Congregation  5959 N. Sheridan Road Chicago, IL 60660

(T) 773.561.5173 (F) 773.561.5420  info@emanuelcong.org

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