Welcoming the High Holidays

by Robbin Botnick, August 22, 2018

At Solel preparations have long been underway for the high holidays. The religious committee has been very focused and working with the Rabbi to prepare for the large array of services that will be taking place over the coming month. The membership committee has been focused on welcoming our families back and meeting new families. In the quiet days of summer, a lot of people have been working very hard to ensure that we are able to welcome our community into the New Year through prayer, through music and verse, through teaching and through creating opportunities to all us to reconnect with each other.

The Oxford Dictionary defines “Rosh Chodesh” as “The observance of the appearance of the new moon, marking the beginning of the Jewish month.” As we celebrate Rosh Hashanah, our Jewish new year, which falls at the beginning of Tishrei, we have the opportunity to begin again, to rise like the new moon, to wake up and separate ourselves from the year that has passed. The sound of the shofar reminds me that while we can never forget the past we can start over; we can build on what we have learned and we can learn, even from those things we regret. The shofar calls us together as a community and tells us that as a community we can repent, we can accept, we can forgive and we can start over.

For some of us, the high holidays can be stressful, so much planning, so much to do and for many, so many people that we have not seen for so long. For some, High Holiday services are the only services that you attend and it can be frightening when you see new faces and hear new prayers and songs, but rest assured you are not alone. I encourage each of you to take some time, let yourself relax and reflect. Being with friends and family is a far greater joy than worrying about ensuring that dinner is perfect. Take the time to really enjoy your family and friends, to be part of today. Whether you are at Solel every week or a few times a year or just for the high holidays, please feel welcome. The high holidays are a great time to reconnect and re-acquaint yourself with the wonderful Solel community.

Rosh Hashanah gives us time to reflect on the past year and review the choices that we have made. Each of us has so much to be proud of and for me personally, many things that I would have liked to have done differently. Today I ask for forgiveness and the support from our community to begin again. To take what I have learned and let it help me be a better person. The new moon, the new year, the start of school, each of these things give us the opportunity to start fresh, to learn from the past but not let the past hold us back from today or tomorrow.

In the ten days between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur we have the opportunity to accept those things that we may not be so proud of and to apologize or make amends. As a community we join together to pray but also to accept that we have all made mistakes and as a community we will forgive and focus on making the New Year better than the one past.

I welcome each of you to join us as we celebrate the high holidays at Solel. Come and pray with us, celebrate with us, reminisce with old friends, meet some new people, share your stories, laugh, cry and know that you are an important part of our community.

“L’Shanah tovah u’metukah! May you have a good and sweet new year!”


Filed under: President's Message

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