Temple Beth Shalom Prepares for the Jewish New Year

Here is a press release we received from Temple Beth Shalom.

For Jews around the world, the fall means a new beginning as they celebrate the High Holidays: Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, and Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, which follows ten days later. Melrose’s reform congregation, Temple Beth Shalom, will welcome the year 5776 by observing the two days of Rosh Hashanah starting at sundown on Sun., Sept. 13. Yom Kippur’s one-day observance begins at sundown on Mon., Sept. 21.

The High Holidays are a time of both celebration and introspection, providing Jews with an opportunity to resolve to be better people, similar to that of the secular New Year. During the religious service, congregants symbolically cast away their sins, fast, and pray. In this way, they reflect on the past year, make amends both to God and to the people they have wronged, and ask God for a fresh start. Says TBS Rabbi Arnie Fertig, “The High Holidays are a time of year when we as Jews are called on to reflect seriously about who we are, what our lives are about, and the direction we chart for ourselves and our community for the coming year. Our prayers speak of it as a time when God judges each of us as individuals, yet we turn inward together as individuals composing a larger congregation. We focus not simply on ‘me’ but on ‘us’ as we reflect on the values that have been central to the Jewish people from ancient days until the present. We say together: ‘Forgive us. Pardon us. Inscribe us in the book of life.’”

In this spirit, Temple Beth Shalom encourages its members to participate in the services, which also helps personalize the observance. Members sing in the lay-choir, lead parts of the liturgy in Hebrew and in English, and sing along with many of the prayers. The Temple’s 90 member families from Melrose and surrounding towns also celebrate both community and tradition. For example, a highlight of the Rosh Hashanah service is longtime Temple member Karl Geller leading the congregation’s children in blowing the shofar (ram’s horn), this handing down the ritual to a new generation.

This year, the Temple is offering a special services for families with young children. Led by the Temple’s new Education Director, Rabbi Allison Peiser, the service, will be geared toward families and will include storytelling, singing, shofar blowing and more. Non-members, GLTBQ and interfaith supporters are all welcome to attend. The Rosh Hashanah family service will be held at 9:00 AM on Mon., Sept. 14,; the Yom Kippur family service will be held at 9:00 AM on Tues., Sept. 22.

No tickets are required; all are welcome to attend. Donations are requested from non-members. The schedule of services is:

Erev Rosh Hashanah: Sun., Sept. 13, 7:30 PM
Rosh Hashanah Family Service: 9:00 AM
Rosh Hashanah Morning Service: Mon., Sept. 14, 10:00 AM, with Taschlich immediately following
Second Day of Rosh Hashanah: Tues., Sept. 15, 10:00 AM
Kol Nidre: Mon., Sept 21, 7:30 PM
Yom Kippur Family Service: Tues., Sept. 22, 9:00 AM
Yom Kippur Morning Service: Tues., Sept. 22, 10:00 AM, with Yizkor at approximately 1:00 PM, Neilah Concluding Service at approximately 4:00 PM, and Havadalah and potluck Break the Fast at sundown

The Temple is located at 21 East Foster St., Melrose. For more information, visit the Temple’s web site at tbsma.org or call 781-665-4520 and leave a message.

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