A Weekly Message from Rabbi Sam Levine 9.23.22

September 23, 2022
As we make our final preparations for Rosh Hashanah, which begins Sunday night, I wanted to share some information about the service this year so you will know what to expect.
But first, four important reminders:
  1. Your voices add greatly to the service. It is not a “performance” by the cantor – it is “communal prayer.” So please, make prayerful noise, sing loudly (when appropriate), hum, vocalize, Sing a new song unto the Lord – you get the point. We want to hear your voice.
  2. PLEASE BE AWARE THAT THE HIGH HOLY DAYS ARE A TIME OF INTENSE SPRITUALITY FOR MANY PEOPLE. PLEASE RESPECT THAT AND TAKE YOUR CONVERSATIONS OUT OF THE SANCTUARY. People are praying right next to you – please offer them the highest level of consideration. You have permission to politely shush others. And of course, if you need to use your phone for any purpose, please go outside – that too can be offensive to others.
  3. This year, we are experimenting with a (single) video monitor in the sanctuary so that we can be aware of our extensive Zoom attendees. It has always been of paramount importance that the Zoom folks feel themselves a part of the service – we have always tried to include the online minyan through readings, prayers, chanting of haftarot, unmuting for kaddish, etc. The aim is for the video monitor to further the feeling of cohesion between the in-person and the online congregants. I wanted everyone to be aware of this so it’s not a great surprise.
  4. Don’t forget about Tashlich, the beautiful (and fun and kid-friendly) ceremony on the afternoon of the first day of Rosh Hashanah (5:15 PM). We’ll meet in the courtyard of EMJC and “cast our sins away.” Sort of. Bring some bread crumbs.
Below, please find details about how services will be conducted (this will be interesting only to some of you).
Finally, let me take this opportunity to offer you my warmest wishes for a sweet, happy, and healthful New Year full of blessing, connection, and love.
Looking forward to seeing you all in the coming days,
K’tivah v’chatimah tovah – may you be written and sealed for a good and prosperous year,
Shabbat shalom um’vorach – a peaceful and blessed Shabbat,
Rabbi Sam Levine
Service Notes
Rosh Hashanah
For the last two years, we have been on a COVID footing, one year all-virtual and last year cautiously hybrid. Of course we are hybrid again this year, and still cautious, but we are slowly reintroducing elements of the service that we cut out for the sake of minimizing time in the sanctuary.
This year, Rosh Hashanah services will begin at 8:30, and we have reintroduced a full preliminary service.
Shacharit (“the morning service”) will be somewhat abbreviated, featuring a heiche kedusha, same as last year. It will begin right around 9:00 am. If you are there for that part of the service, you’ll get to hear our wonderful chazzan sheni (second cantor) Julia Ostrov, who will be co-officiating with me throughout the service. Piyyutim and other parts of the service which we shortened last year have been “unshortened” this year – we are slowly working our way back to a more traditional service.
My best guess for timing on the shofar service is somewhere between 10:30 and 11:00, both days. This is a rough estimate. If you want to be sure to be there for it, please come earlier. There will be more shofar blowing through Musaf.
Musaf will also be abbreviated – there will not be a silent Amidah. We will go directly into the Reader’s recitation of Musaf after the hineni (this is halachically permitted).
Yom Kippur
As for Yom Kippur, we will follow last year’s model: Shacharit and Musaf will be as above. The Avodah service, Martyrology, Yizkor, and Mincha will be moved to the 2:30pm slot, with a second break before Neilah. The morning service will be around 3.5 hours. The afternoon service will be around 2-2.5 hours. Neilah will be around 1.5 hours. FYI.