Hardly Strictly Selichot Unplugged Recap

facebook_yehudasolomonduvidswirsky_hardlystrictlyselichotunplugged_september2016Almost two hundred people visited the CBS campus this past Saturday evening to mark our entrance into the final days of preparation for the Yamim Noraim ("the Days of Awe"). A joint production of CBS, the Mission Minyan, and The Kitchen, Hardly Strictly Selichot Unplugged made for a special night (and early morning!) – deeply affecting, joyous, and fun.

The centerpiece of the night was a communal singalong featuring Yehuda Solomon and Duvid Swirsky of the Israeli-American folk-rock band, Moshav. Yehuda and Duvid were joined by prayer leaders and hazzanim from CBS, the Mission Minyan, and the Kitchen – together, they led the crowd in giving voice to Selichot, our tradition’s beautiful and penitential piyyutim (liturgical poems). According to Ashkenazi tradition, the recitation of Selichot begins after midnight on the Sunday before Rosh Hashanah (or the Sunday prior, if Rosh Hashanah falls on a Monday or Tuesday, as it does this year) and, although our service didn't wind down until 2 a.m., there was no shortage of energy and ruach in the CBS Sanctuary! Attendees danced, stomped, and swayed with the music and singing, awakening to the urgency of this moment and our need for teshuvah.

Speaking of teshuvah and the related seasonal demand for chesbon hanefesh (a rigorous "accounting of the soul"), Rabbi Peretz Wolf-Prusan shared some moving words during the film panel that occurred earlier in the evening. Following a screening of Fire On The Water, a short film dealing with the Akedah (the binding of Isaac) that Rabbi Aubrey Glazer made during his days as a student filmmaker, Rabbi Wolf-Prusan spoke earnestly of his anxiety about the lack of communal sacrifice experienced by Jewish Americans in the last 50+ years. What loss has our society felt, he asked, as we wage an ongoing war in Afghanistan? Too many families lose their sons and daughters, of course, and our federal coffers are steadily drained, but the majority of Americans are insulated from the war – it remains a background abstraction, and there is little to no sense of communal commitment, contribution, or sacrifice. Even during the Vietnam era, Rabbi Wolf-Prusan argued, despite the anti-war movement and the greater public awareness of the body count (on both sides of the conflict), our culture experienced the 1960s and early 1970s as a period of economic growth and general prosperity. He contrasted this with the American experience during World War II, when all citizens were required to ration foods, fuel, and many consumer goods. We haven't experienced anything like that since the 1940s. "When will the bill come due?," he asked the audience.

Rabbi Dorothy Richman responded to Rabbi Wolf-Prusan and quoted the 20th century sage, Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel: "Some are guilty, but all are responsible." With so much racial strife, ongoing overseas wars, ugly partisanship, and reactionary politics, she said Rabbi Wolf-Prusan's anxieties about our lack of sacrifice hit her hard. Doubtless, many people in the room were similarly stirred.

This sort of earnest, challenging soul-searching is what the High Holy Days are all about. Observant Jews devote the entire Hebrew month of Elul – which began on September 4 this year – to the spiritual heavy lifting of teshuvah. And what exactly is teshuvah? Depending on which Jew you ask, you'll get different answers. Most resources translate teshuvah as "repentance," but many rabbis scorn this translation, and instead frame teshuvah (which literally translates as "return") as the work of returning to relationship with God. Given contemporary Jews' varied conceptions of deity, that's too vague a formulation for many. However you translate or characterize it, though, teshuvah is about working to develop and improve our character – and it's meant to be hard.

As Rosh Hashanah approaches, the need for a commitment to teshuvah becomes increasingly urgent, but it is likewise important to balance the moments of reckoning with moments of joy. Hardly Strictly Selichot Unplugged provided both.

Thanks to all of the panelists, performers, and prayer leaders who made the evening so moving and fun. Thanks, too, to all of the friendly folks from the Mission Minyan and The Kitchen who trekked out – in some cases, carpooling (kol hakavod!) – to the Richmond to make this memorable evening that much better. Todah rabbah, and l'shanah tovah u'metuka (for a good and sweet year)!

A selection of photographs snapped during the event are included below.












Hardly Strictly Selichot Unplugged

HardlyStrictlySelichotUnplugged_PosterHardly Strictly Selichot Unplugged
A Communal Soul-singing Experience

Congregation Beth Sholom, the Mission Minyan, and the Kitchen co-present a communal Selichot experience like none other.

September 24, 2016
9 – 11 p.m.,
Fire on the Water short film screening & forum
11 – 11:30 p.m.,
Coffee, dessert, & schmooze
11:30 p.m. – 1:30 a.m.,
Hardly Strictly Selichot Unplugged

At 9 p.m., following a musical Havdalah with Yehuda Solomon and Duvid Swirsky of the Israeli-American folk-rock band, Moshav, we will stretch our spiritual and intellectual muscles with a screening of Rabbi Aubrey Glazer's short film, Fire on the Water. The 30-minute film uses a father-son fly fishing trip to grapple with divergent notions of sibling rivalry, parental love, trust, reconciliation, and sacrifice. This special screening will be followed by a panel discussion exploring the themes of the film as they relate to the spiritual journey of the Yamim Noraim, the Days of Awe – featuring many of our CBS High Holy Days spiritual leaders, including cantorial soloist Aviva Chernick, filmmaker Jonathan Crosby, and Rabbis Aubrey Glazer, Peretz Wolf-Prusan, Dorothy Richman.

Then, at 11:30 p.m., we’ll put those limber muscles to work as we usher in “the season of awe” with Hardly Strictly Selichot Unplugged. Yehuda and Duvid will lead us in a joyous communal sing-along experience that features appearances by many special guests – musicians, singers, and rabbis – it’s a neo-Carlebach kumzitz meets The Last Waltz mash-up! Singing and moving together with communal leaders and singers from CBS, the Mission Minyan, and the Kitchen, we’ll rediscover the power of the Selichot, our tradition’s beautiful and meaningful penitential piyyut (Jewish liturgical poems).

Both parts of this special evening are free, but pre-registration is required.
Please click through to register.

The High Holy Days At CBS

The "Days of Awe" are almost upon us – again! As another year draws to a close, we look forward to the next. We also look forward to sharing the High Holy Days with you this October!
Facebook_JWeekly_HHDAvertisement No matter how “late” they may seem this year, the High Holy Days are always a good time to reconnect with old friends and to make some new ones. All of our services are conducted with joy, deep feeling, and humor, and they preserve the classic character of the High Holy Days while authentically connecting with contemporary Jews and their friends and family.

With support from cantorial soloist and rabbinic intern, Amanda Russell, and a cast of wonderful lay leaders, Rabbis Aubrey Glazer and Dorothy Richman will lead inspiring services in our acclaimed Sanctuary and Koret Hall. In addition, CBS offers a completely new prayer experience: Renew Our Days: The High Holy Days Unbound, a special, two-part prayer lab occurring on the mornings of Rosh Hashanah Day 1 and Yom Kippur. This a special opportunity to rediscover and reconnect with the spiritual, emotional, and intellectual substance of Jewish liturgy. Led by Aviva Chernick, teacher, hazzan, and frontwoman of Jaffa Road, the celebrated world music group, Renew Our Days is open to all ticket holders, but space is limited & advance R.S.V.P. is required. (Full details on Renew Our Days can be found here.)

Age-specific children’s programming is also provided from Newborn – Grade 5, and we're introducing Launch Kadima 5777, a unique program specifically designed for Grades 6 – 8. (Full descriptions of our children's programming is available here.)

Let’s put chalk to board and write the next chapter together!

Below, we provide you with a comprehensive overview of our service and program times for the 5777 High Holy Days. Details about some of the special services are provided in other posts on the CBS blog, as well as all CBS calendar listings.

If you have any questions, please contact us via email or call 415.940.7092.
Nonmembers, please click here to access the High Holy Days Nonmember Ticket Request Form, which can be printed and mailed to the CBS office or scanned and emailed.


Friday, September 23
6:30 p.m. — "Neo-Carlebach" Kabbalat Shabbat (guest-led by Yehuda Solomon)

Saturday, September 24
9 a.m. — Shabbat morning service (co-led by Yehuda Solomon)
1:30 p.m. — Mincha gedolah minyan (replaces our normal, evening minyan service)
9 p.m. – 1:30 a.m. (next morning) — Hardly Strictly Selichot Unplugged (featuring Yehuda Solomon, Duvid Swirsky, Hazzan Avyatar Alfassi of Anshey Sfard, and other friends)

high-holy-daysSunday, September 25
11 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. — Aviva Chernick's Renew Our Days Song Workshop

Sunday, October 2
6:15 - 8:30 p.m. — Erev Rosh Hashanah service

Monday, October 3
8:45 – 9:30 a.m. — Rosh Hashanah Family Service
8:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. — Rosh Hashanah Day 1 Sanctuary Service
10 a.m. – 2 p.m. — Rosh Hashanah Day 1 Koret Hall Service
10 a.m. – 1 p.m. — Aviva Chernick’s Renew Our Days service
4:30 p.m. — Mincha minyan at Ocean Beach (near Fulton, just across from Beach Chalet)
5 – 7 p.m. — Ctrl + Alt + Del: Tashlique at Ocean Beach (w/ Reboot and others)

Tuesday, October 4
8:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. — Rosh Hashanah Day 2 Sanctuary Service

Tuesday, October 11
6:00 – 9 p.m. — Kol Nidre Sanctuary Service – Mincha (6:05 p.m.); Kol Nidre (6:15 p.m.)
6:30 – 9 p.m. — Kol Nidre Koret Hall Service

Tuesday, October 12
8:30 a.m. – 2 p.m. — Yom Kippur Sanctuary Service
8:45 - 9:30 a.m. — Yom Kippur Family Service
10 a.m. – 1 p.m. — Aviva Chernick’s Renew Our Days service
12 – 2 p.m. — Yom Kippur Koret Hall Service
2 – 4 p.m. — Open Meditation in Makom Shalom
2 – 4 p.m. — Special Afternoon Teachings w/ Ephraim Margolin, Henry Hollander, Ovid Jacob, & Michael Loebs
4:45 – 7:30 p.m. — Mincha, Ne’ila, Ma’ariv, & Havdalah
7:30 p.m. — Break-the-Fast

Monday, October 17
9 a.m. – 12 p.m. — Sukkot Day 1 Service
12 – 1 p.m. — Kiddush Lunch & Learn 1: Kohelet Chapters 1–6 (in CBS sukkah)
1 p.m. — Mincha gedolah minyan

Tuesday, October 18
9 a.m. – 12 p.m. — Sukkot Day 2 Service
12 – 1 p.m. — Kiddush Lunch & Learn 2: Kohelet Chapters 7–12 (in CBS sukkah)
1 p.m. — Mincha gedolah minyan

Wednesday, October 19
6:30 p.m. — Community Sukkot Dinner in CBS sukkah (to be followed by dessert at Congregation Chevra Thilim)

Sunday, October 23
8 – 10:30 a.m. — Hoshana Rabbah Service
10:30 a.m. — Kiddush in CBS sukkah

torah_iconMonday, October 24
9 a.m. – 12 p.m. — Shemini Atzeret Service, w/ Yizkor
12 p.m. — Kiddush
6 p.m. — Mincha minyan
7 – 11 p.m. — Erev Simchat Torah Street Party, featuring Veretski Pass

Tuesday, October 25
9 – 10 a.m. — Simchat Torah Service
10 a.m. – 12 p.m. — Kiddush (concurrent w/ service)