“The High Holidays are late this year” can be heard often, but they are not as late as you may think. Most Jews believe that the holiday season begins with Rosh HaShanah on the first day of the Hebrew month of Tishri.
But the true preparations for our Days of Awe begin in the prior month of Elul, during which time we are supposed to engage in self-reflection and soul-searching.
During Elul Jews recite selichot (forgiveness) prayers emphasizing the inner work of the High Holidays. Indeed, a special service on the Saturday evening before the holidays is called Selichot. The Sabbath ends with Havdalah, and we have a “warm-up” for the Days of Awe which lie ahead.
During the Selichot Service, we hear the sounds of the season, the special holiday musical tropes of the holy days, as well as the first blast of the Shofar. Many congregations change their Torah covers from those used during the year to special white covers designed to represent purity and renewal.
In Dayton, it has become customary for Beth Abraham Synagogue, Temple Beth Or, and Temple Israel to combine in worship for the Selichot service.
This year Temple Beth Or will host the community on Saturday, September 21st, 2019, with a service featuring the acclaimed Dayton Jewish Chorale directed by Hazan Jenna B. Greenberg. Many of our Temple Beth Or members are a part of this community-wide chorus.
The larger Dayton community will have the opportunity to mingle during a gourmet dessert reception prior to the Service at 8:30 p.m. Then Rabbis from all three congregations will lead a brief yet soulful Service starting at 9:00 p.m.
We are hoping for many decadent, sinful delights at our dessert reception so that we will have yet one more thing to repent. If you are willing to enhance our evening with your culinary delights, please sign up online at volunteer.templebethor.com/chefs, or call the Temple office at 937-435-3400.
We look forward to hosting the larger Dayton community and raising our voices in prayer and song as we kick off our High Holiday Season.
To a sweet Selichot and New Year.
Rabbi Judy Chessin