5778 High Holy Days Sermons And Teachings

Rabbinic sermons are meant to be heard, so Rabbi Glazer thoughtfully recorded all of his High Holy Days sermons and teachings for your listening edification. If you missed any of the Beth Sholom High Holy Days services this year, or if you just want to revisit some of your favorite teachings, we invite you to spend some time with the audio archive below.

Additionally, we began a large, communal conversation about practicing Hesed (Compassion) during Yizkor this Yom Kippur, and Rabbi Glazer asked the question: "As we gather at the moment of Yizkor – of recalling and rebirthing the sacred memories that make for community — I wonder what our future CBS yizker-bukh ("communal book of memory" in Yiddish) should look like, and what recipe for compassionate community should it hope to pass on to those who come after us?" As we engage this process of self-reflection within our families, our friendship circles, and our communal family, Rabbi Glazer encourages everyone to read a 2015 manifesto for compassionate community built on Hesed. Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi (z"l) and Netanel Miles-Yépez describe an ancient-new paradigm for community, what they call the "Fourth Turning of Hasidism." All Beth Sholom members and friends are invited to read and reflect further upon the manifesto Foundations of the Fourth Turning of Hasidism: A Manifesto and to let us know your thoughts on our Facebook page.


  • Be-longing In Jerusalem -- Drash, Erev Rosh Hashanah 5778
    Finding a way to long for both Klal Yisrael and Eretz Yisrael in our "American Jerusalem."[audio mp3="http://bethsholomsf.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/1_5778-ERH-Be-longing-In-Jerusalem.mp3"][/audio] (Click here to download.)

  • Being Born In A Nutshell Of Time -- D'var Torah, Rosh Hashanah Day 1 5778
    Breaking the vessel to create more loving and sustaining society.[audio mp3="http://bethsholomsf.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/2_5778-RH1-Being-Born-In-A-Nutshell-Of-Time.mp3"][/audio] (Click here to download.)

  • Do Someone Else A Favor -- Drash, Rosh Hashanah Day 1 5778
    Why we are all street sweepers – how we can put our faith into action.[audio mp3="http://bethsholomsf.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/3_5778-RH1-Do-Someone-else-A-Favor-Why-we-are-All-Street-Sweepers.mp3"][/audio] (Click here to download.)

  • Coming Together, Falling Apart -- D'var Torah, Rosh Hashanah Day 2 5778
    Breaking the vessel to create more loving and sustaining society.[audio mp3="http://bethsholomsf.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/4_5778-RH2-Torah-Intro-Coming-Together-Falling-apart.mp3"][/audio] (Click here to download.)

  • Generative Versus Coexistence Pluralism: Depends On Your Point Of View -- Drash, Rosh Hashanah Day 2 5778
    What is the effect of pluralism on peoplehood? On being Jews – not just Jew-ish – together?[audio mp3="http://bethsholomsf.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/5_5778-RH2-Generative-Vs-Coexistence-Pluralism-Depends-On-Your-Point-of-View.mp3"][/audio] (Click here to download.)

  • Can A World Without Mind Reclaim Free Will? -- Drash, Kol Nidre 5778
    Technology and human majesty, humility, and responsibility.[audio mp3="http://bethsholomsf.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/6_5788-YK-KN-Can-A-World-Without-Mind-Reclaim-Free-Will.mp3"][/audio] (Click here to download.)

  • Along The Silk Road Of Prayer -- A Yom Kippur Kavannah, 5778
    Unanswered questions...from the Middle Ages and today.[audio mp3="http://bethsholomsf.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/13_5778-YK-Along-The-Silk-Road-Of-Prayer.mp3"][/audio] (Click here to download.)

  • Reprogramming Return From Distraction -- A Yom Kippur Kavannah, 5778
    How can we find the energy to "reboot" this Yom Kippur?[audio mp3="http://bethsholomsf.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/14_5778-YK-Reprogramming-Return-From-Distraction.mp3"][/audio] (Click here to download.)

  • Casting Lots To See Your Life's Mission Clearly --
    D'var Torah, Yom Kippur 5778

    What essential questions should we ask amidst chance, chaos, and more of "life happening"?[audio mp3="http://bethsholomsf.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/7_5778-YK-Torah-Intro-Casting-Lots-To-See-Your-Lifes-Mission-Clearly.mp3"][/audio] (Click here to download.)

  • Living A Life Of Hesed & Building Its Song -- Drash, Yom Kippur Yizkor 5778
    What is Yizkor for, and what are the key ingredients of a song of remembrance? [audio mp3="http://bethsholomsf.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/8_5778-YK-Yizkor-Living-A-Life-Of-Hesed-building-its-song.mp3"][/audio] (Click here to download.)

  • Unetane Tokef: Hope In Hopeless Times? Perhaps! --
    A Yom Kippur Kavannah, 5778

    The solidarity and hope that can be found in holy speechlessness.[audio mp3="http://bethsholomsf.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/12_5778-Tane-Tokef-Hope-In-Hopeless-Times-Perhaps.mp3"][/audio] (Click here to download.)

  • I Shall Be Released From The Seaweed -- D'var Torah, Yom Kippur 5778
    On seeing ourselves through the "weeds" of the Book of Jonah and Exodus.[audio mp3="http://bethsholomsf.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/9_5778-YK-Jonah-I-Shall-Be-Released-From-The-Seaweed.mp3"][/audio] (Click here to download.)

  • Avodah: On The Choreography Of Kneeling -- A Yom Kippur Kavannah, 5778
    Considering why we kneel when we pray together on Yom Kippur.[audio mp3="http://bethsholomsf.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/11_5778-Avodah-On-Choreography-Of-Kneeling.mp3"][/audio] (Click here to download.)

  • Can The Divine Judge Self Pardon? -- Drash, Yom Kippur Ne'ila 5778
    What is the meaning of judgement or justice in contemporary Judaism?[audio mp3="http://bethsholomsf.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/10_5778-Neila-can-the-divine-judge-self-pardon.mp3"][/audio] (Click here to download.)

Hardly Strictly Selichot Unplugged Recap

This past Saturday evening, Jews from all over the city visited Congregation Beth Sholom to mark our entrance into the final days of preparation for the Yamim Noraim ("the Days of Awe"). A joint production of Beth Sholom, The Kitchen, Kehillah San Francisco, and Congregation Anshey Sfard, Hardly Strictly Selichot Unplugged made for a special night (and early morning!) – the spirited service didn't end until almost 2 a.m.!

The centerpiece of Hardly Strictly Selichot Unplugged was a communal singalong featuring brothers Yehuda and Nahman Solomon. (Yehuda is the frontman of the Israeli-American folk-rock band, Moshav, as well as founder of Los Angeles' Happy Minyan.) Yehuda and Nahman were joined by prayer leaders and hazzanim from all of the participating communities – 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 and, although our service didn't wind down until the wee hours, there was no shortage of energy and ruach in the Beth Sholom Sanctuary! Even at the end of the service, attendees danced, stomped, and swayed with the music and piyyut, awakening to the urgency of this moment and our need for teshuvah.

Before the main service began, attendees gathered for a lovely Havdalah ceremony and a community Selichot beit midrash co-led by Rabbi Aubrey Glazer and Rabbi Peretz Wolf-Prusan. The study session compared our traditional High Holy Days liturgy and selected lyrics of recently departed songwriter, Leonard Cohen (z"l). The takeaway from the session was the value of wrestling with the difficult personal work of teshuvah and cultivating a relationship with the divine (a struggle reflected in Cohen's poetry and lyrics).

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 the rabbis, performers, and prayer leaders who made the evening so moving and fun. Thanks, too, to all of the friendly folks from The Kitchen, Kehillah San Francisco, and Congregation Anshey Sfard who participated, making a memorable evening that much better. Todah rabbah, and l'shanah tovah u'metuka (for a good and sweet year)!

A selection of photographs and videos are included below. Please visit our Facebook page for more.

Ki Tavo -- Deuteronomy 26:1 – 29:8

How do you express your gratitude? With words? With a thank-you card?

John F. Kennedy once suggested that "as we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them."

A robust "attitude of gratitude" requires an act that acknowledges a benefactor’s benevolence and communicates one's grateful feelings. This is part of what Moses is teaching the Children of Israel through his own song in Deuteronomy; he instructs his people on how to cultivate the proper attitude for entering the Holy Land – after all, it is being given as an eternal gift. In settling and cultivating the land, the ritual of offering first ripened fruits or bikkurim at the Jerusalem Temple is a key moment in the agrarian lifecycle – here is a chance to proclaim one’s gratitude in community. Gratitude is often learned through our relation to others; thus tithing to the Levites and the needy are opportunities to cultivate gratitude. Sometimes we must see need in our midst to really appreciate the abundant blessings of our lives.

There is follow up here to the episode of blessings and curses that began its articulation in last week’s reading. Moses comments on the development of the Israelites since their birth as a nation; although their sense of peoplehood and commitment has evolved, they have not yet attained the maturity exemplified by "a mind to understand, or eyes to see or ears to hear." (29:3) In other words, aging does not always lead to emotional maturation, and this desert generation is still engaged in an ongoing process of "growing up" amidst innumerable challenges on the journey thus far.

To live by gratitude is our greatest challenge and dearest hope.

- Rabbi Aubrey Glazer

Artwork note: This week's artwork is an abstract depiction of Parashat Ki Tavo's dark and despotic venom. The parsha includes threats aplenty and bleak visions of the future that will befall the Israelites should they not "fulfill all [God’s] commandments and statutes." (Deuteronomy 28:15) Here, the venom dances across the picture like ink in water. Illustration by Christopher Orev Reiger.

Renew Our Days: The High Holy Days Unbound

AvivaChernickShaliach tzibbur (prayer leader), musician, and teacher Aviva Chernick returns again to CBS to lead Renew Our Days: The High Holy Days Unbound, a special, two-part service occurring on the mornings of Rosh Hashanah Day 1 and Yom Kippur.

Renew Our Days is a prayer lab, a non-halachic service (e.g., there is no Torah service) inspired by traditional liturgy, but not bound to it. The service continues to evolve from last year's initial iteration; it will move a bit further from a traditional structure, letting go of more of the text and incorporating more contemplative and embodied practice.

Highlighting selected passages and prayers, Aviva will guide participants on a journey, an opportunity to rediscover and reconnect with the spiritual, emotional, and intellectual substance of Jewish prayer and the High Holy Days. "With curiosity and an openness to discover the experience of prayer anew," Aviva says, "so much is possible."

Join us in song, prayer, and reflection as we experience
the "Days of Awe" in a fresh and inspiring way.

Renew Our Days is open to all CBS High Holy Day ticket holders, but space is limited and preregistration is required (even if you have already purchased your general High Holy Day tickets). Please plan to join us promptly at 10 a.m. The service will end at approximately 1 p.m. (During the Yom Kippur service, Yizkor will occur around noon.)

For a little taste of the prayer lab's vibe, we invite you to listen to Aviva’s lovely interpretation of Chadeish Yameinu.

[audio mp3="http://bethsholomsf.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/02-Chadesh-Yameinu-Turn-Your-Face-to-the-Sun.mp3"][/audio]
Service Details
Renew Our Days: Rosh Hashanah Unbound |  September 21, 10 a.m. – 1 p.m., Gronowski Family Chapel
Renew Our Days: Yom Kippur Unbound (w/ Yizkor) |    September 30, 10 a.m. – 1 p.m., Gronowski Family Chapel

___________
RENEW OUR DAYS WORKSHOP
Many of the Renew Our Days service melodies will be easy to sing, but new to service participants. Because Aviva wants to maximize the experience of all who join the special High Holy Days prayer lab, she is offering an optional Renew Our Days Workshop on Sunday, September 17, 4:15 – 5:45 p.m., on the Eva Gunther Plaza (just outside of the Sanctuary). In the event of rain, the workshop will take place in the Gronowski Family Chapel. Please join CBS congregants and friends as we reconnect with or get to know Aviva and become comfortable with the service melodies before the new year. (When you register for the services, you will automatically be registered for this workshop.)

Even before the workshop in late September, service participants can begin acquainting themselves with some of the Renew Our Days melodies. Please enjoy these simple recordings – sing along and let them warm you up for what is to come. (Just click on the melody names to listen.)

NEWER MELODIES FOR THE MORNING SERVICE:
1. Tishrei Niggun, by Nava Tehilah – (Or download music file)
2. Carlebach Niggun, by Shlomo Carlebach – (Or download music file)
3. Modah Ani, by Rabbi Shefa Gold – (Or download music file)
4. Elohai Neshama – (Or download music file)
5. Baruch Sheamar, by Rabbi Shefa Gold – (Or download music file)
6. Nishmat Kol Chai, by Joey Weisenberg – (Or download music file)
7. Ahava, by Aviva Chernick – (Or download music file)
8. Adonai S'fatai – (Or download music file)
9. Hayom, by Aviva Chernick – (Or download music file)

FAMILIAR MELODIES FOR THE HIGH HOLY DAYS:
10. Zochreynu
11. Michalkel Chayim – (Or download music file)
12. B'rosh Hashanah – (Or download music file)
13. U'teshuvah U'tefilah U'tzedakah – (Or download music file)
14. Avinu Malkeinu – (Or download music file)

Renew Our Days is supported by an anonymous grant.

Youth & Family High Holy Days Programming

Web_Ziz1

Congregation Beth Sholom is a stand-out
family destination for the High Holy Days!
CBS offers a selection of age-specific programs and services for children and/or their parents. With the exception of the two free Family Services, a modest donation is requested for each participating child.

FAMILY SERVICES
Our popular and interactive Family Services are designed for families with young children ages newborn – Kindergarten. The services provide an opportunity for children to connect with the rituals, music, and stories of the High Holy Days in a warm and fun context. Older siblings are always welcome. The Family Services this year will feature the engaging and family-friendly Machzor Katan, and occur at 10 a.m. on Rosh Hashanah Day 1 and Yom Kippur. Co-led by Rabbinic Intern Amanda Russell, our CBS Family Preschool Director, and CBS Family Preschool Assistant Director. Featuring musical accompaniment. No tickets are required.

KADIMA KLUB
We’re also pleased to announce Kadima Klub, an exciting new program specifically designed for Jewish students in Grades 6 – 8. Led by David Agam and our USYers, Kadima Klub is engaging and fun. It doesn’t matter whether you know all there is to know about "doing Jewish" or if it’s all just Hebrew to you, Kadima Klub provides a supportive and engaging experience for young Jews of all stripes and knowledge levels, one full of song, art, and learning!

Kadima Klub for Rosh Hashanah Days 1 & 2 and Yom Kippur includes your annual Kadima membership for 2017-18 / 5778 for one low price of $54. If your family is not yet a member of CBS, you are still welcome to join our Kadima chapter; the non-member price is $90. Ain’t that (New Year) sweet! Click here to sign your kid(s) up.

DAYS OF AWESOMENESS
Days of AWEsomeness programming will explore the themes of the High Holy Days through communal prayer, games, storytelling, and music. Days of AWEsomeness is open to children ages newborn – Grade 5.

We are offering six Days of AWEsomeness sessions this year (Erev Rosh Hashanah, Rosh Hashanah Day 1, Rosh Hashanah Day 2, Kol Nidre, Yom Kippur, and Yom Kippur Mincha/Ne'ila) – each session is $25 per child. Click here to see the program details/schedule and to reserve space for your kid(s).

The High Holy Days At CBS

Web_MachzorCBS looks forward to sharing the High Holy Days with you this fall.

The High Holy Days provide us with an unparalleled opportunity to take stock and reconnect with our deeper selves. Importantly, the spiritual drama and possibility of the "Days of Awe" are matched by the pleasure of spending time with so many friends, both old and new!

With support from the outstanding lay leaders in our community, Rabbi Aubrey Glazer, Ph.D., Rabbi Dorothy Richman, and Rabbinic Intern Amanda Russell will guide us through the two main services that occur in the Sanctuary and Koret Hall.

SANCTUARY SERVICES
Our Sanctuary services balance traditional liturgy with familiar and innovative melodies so that the classic character of the High Holy Days is experienced in a contemporary context. Guided by Rabbi Glazer with support from Rabbinic Intern Amanda Russell and a cast of wonderful lay prayer leaders, the services include much interactive singing and reflection.

TESHUVAH / RETURN (KORET HALL)
The Teshuvah / Return services in Koret Hall are both traditional and creative, inspired by our beloved teacher, Rabbi Alan Lew (z”l). They are an invitation to "go deep" and connect with our prayer, with each other, and with the Divine. Led by Rabbi Richman and supported by a number of CBS lay leaders including Zoketsu Norman Fischer, these services engage active participation through group aliyot, lots of singing, traditional and creative ritual, and poetry, prose, and kavanot/intentions to inspire our prayer.

RENEW OUR DAYS: THE HIGH HOLY DAYS UNBOUND
We are also delighted to welcome back Aviva Chernick, shaliach tzibbur (prayer leader), musician, and teacher, to lead Renew Our Days, a special, two-part service occurring on Rosh Hashanah Day 1 and Yom Kippur. Renew Our Days is open to all ticket holders, but space is limited and advance registration is required. (Details about Renew Our Days can be found here.)

YOUTH & FAMILY PROGRAMMING
Age-specific children’s programming is offered for ages newborn – Grade 8. This year, we're introducing Kadima Klub, a unique program specifically designed for Grades 6 – 8. Our ever-popular Family Service (for families with children ages newborn – Kindergarten) and Days of AWEsomeness programming (ages newborn – Grade 5) provides an opportunity for your little ones to connect with the rituals, music, and stories of the High Holy Days in a warm and fun context. (Full descriptions of our children's programming is available here.)

If you have any questions, please contact us via email or call 415.940.7092.

Nonmembers, please scroll to the bottom of this post to place your ticket orders online. Alternatively, you can download the ticket order form and drop off at Beth Sholom.

CBS members, please click here to reserve your tickets and/or purchase guest tickets via EventBrite. (Please note that online purchase is only possible after you renew your CBS membership; the CBS office will supply you with the online access code upon request. If you do not already have an EventBrite account, you will be walked through the steps of creating one at "checkout.")

5778 HIGH HOLY DAY SEASON SERVICES & PROGRAMS
Below, we provide you with a comprehensive overview of our service and program times for the 5778 High Holy Day season. Details about some of the special services are provided in other posts on the CBS blog, as well as all CBS calendar listings.

SelichotSELICHOT
Saturday, September 16
9 p.m.Selichot study w/ Moshav (for young adults)
10 p.m. — Communal Selichot Beit Midrash
11:30 p.m. – 1 a.m. (next morning)Hardly Strictly Selichot
   (featuring Yehuda Solomon, Hazzan Avyatar Alfassi
   of Anshey Sfard, Rabbi Glazer, and other friends)

HIGH HOLY DAYS
Sunday, September 17
4:15 - 5:45 p.m.Aviva Chernick's Renew Our Days
   Song Workshop


high-holy-daysWednesday, September 20
6:15 - 8:30 p.m. — Erev Rosh Hashanah service

Thursday, September 21
8:45 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. — Rosh Hashanah Day 1 Sanctuary Service
10 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. — Rosh Hashanah Day 1 Koret Hall Service
10 a.m. — Rosh Hashanah Family Service
10 a.m. – 1 p.m.Aviva Chernick’s Renew Our Days service
10 a.m. — Rosh Hashanah Family Service
4:30 p.m.Mincha minyan
at Ocean Beach 5 – 7 p.m.Ctrl + Alt + Del: Tashlique at Ocean Beach (w/ Reboot)

Friday, September 22
8:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. — Rosh Hashanah Day 2 Sanctuary Service

KolNidreFriday, September 29
6 – 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

Saturday, September 30
8:30 a.m. – 2 p.m. — Yom Kippur Sanctuary Service
   (Yizkor, ~11 a.m.)
10 a.m. — Yom Kippur Family Service
10 a.m. – 2 p.m. — Yom Kippur Koret Hall Service
   (Yizkor, ~11:30 a.m.)
10 a.m. – 1 p.m.Aviva Chernick’s Renew Our Days service
   (Yizkor, ~12 p.m.)

2 – 4 p.m. — Special Afternoon Teachings w/ Ephraim Margolin, Henry Hollander, & Michael Loebs
2 – 4:45 p.m. — Open Meditation in Makom Shalom
4:45 – 7:30 p.m.Mincha, Ne’ila, Ma’ariv, & Havdalah
7:35 p.m.Break-the-Fast

SUKKOT
Thursday, October 5
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)
6 p.m.Mincha & Ma'ariv minyan

Friday, October 6
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)
HoshanaRabbah2 6:30 p.m.Mincha & Ma'ariv minyan

Wednesday, October 11
7 – 9:30 a.m.Hoshana Rabbah Service
9:30 a.m.Kiddush in CBS sukkah
6 p.m.Mincha & Ma'ariv minyan

SHEMINI ATZERET & SIMCHAT TORAH
Thursday, October 12
9 a.m. – 12 p.m. — Shemini Atzeret Service, w/ Yizkor
12 p.m.Kiddush
6 p.m.Mincha & Ma'ariv minyan
7:30 – 9:30 p.m. — Simchat Torah Hakafot, featuring Veretski Pass

Friday, October 13
9 – 10 a.m. — Simchat Torah Service
10 a.m. – 12 p.m.Kiddush (concurrent w/ service)

High Holy Days Sermons And Teachings

Web_Chen_9177Many congregants have requested copies of Rabbi Glazer's High Holy Days sermons and teachings. Sermons are meant to be heard (not read), so we're delighted to report that Rabbi Glazer has recorded each and every one of his Yamim Noraim service contributions for your listening edification. As a bonus, we've included Rabbi Glazer's thoughtful drash for Parashat Beraysheet.

If you missed any of the High Holy Days services, or if you just want to revisit some of your favorite teachings, we invite you to spend some time with the audio archive below. Listen to the recordings by clicking the play button under each title and description. (If you prefer to download the file so that you can listen to it while on the go, click the relevant download link.)


  • Finding Space To Love -- Drash, Erev Rosh Hashanah 5777
    Ruminating on Jefferson Airplane's Somebody To Love and our individual and social want for connection.[audio mp3="http://bethsholomsf.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/ErevRH_HHD5777.mp3"][/audio] (Click here to download.)

  • Bonobos, Sarah, & the Great Mother -- D'var Torah, Rosh Hashanah Day 1 5777
    Spiritual evolution: Can the survival of the fittest also be the empowerment of the pacifist?[audio mp3="http://bethsholomsf.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/RH1DvarTorah_HHD5777.mp3"][/audio] (Click here to download.)

  • Falling To Get Back Up -- Drash, Rosh Hashanah Day 1 5777
    On finding the resilience to rise again after falling.[audio mp3="http://bethsholomsf.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/RH1Drash_HHD5777.mp3"][/audio] (Click here to download.)

  • "Brace For Impact" in Sully's Akedah -- D'var Torah, Rosh Hashanah Day 2 5777
    Emunah, kehillah kedoshah (sacred community), and preparing ourselves to confront trials of uncertainty.[audio mp3="http://bethsholomsf.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/RH2DvarTorah_HHD5777.mp3"][/audio] (Click here to download.)

  • Why I Don't Believe -- Drash, Rosh Hashanah Day 2 5777
    On the 50th anniversary of the State of Jewish Belief (1966), contemplating faith versus conviction.[audio mp3="http://bethsholomsf.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/RH2Drash_HHD5777.mp3"][/audio] (Click here to download.)

  • What The Seal Of Truth Is Good For -- Drash, Kol Nidre 5777
    On distinguishing between lies and truth.[audio mp3="http://bethsholomsf.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/KNDrash_HHD5777.mp3"][/audio] (Click here to download.)

  • Sitting In The Belly Of The Whale: Part I -- D'var Torah, Yom Kippur 5777
    On "soul-making" in HaNeshama Lakh.[audio mp3="http://bethsholomsf.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/YKDvarTorah1_HHD5777.mp3"][/audio] (Click here to download.)

  • "Ghosting" Vs. Bidding Adieu In The Last Kaddish --
    Drash, Yom Kippur Yizkor 5777

    On letting go and intimately marking the passing of a loved one.[audio mp3="http://bethsholomsf.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/YKYizkor_HHD5777.mp3"][/audio] (Click here to download.)

  • Sitting In The Belly Of The Whale: Part II -- D'var Torah, Yom Kippur 5777
    On "soul-making" in the Book of Jonah.[audio mp3="http://bethsholomsf.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/YKDvarTorah2_HHD5777.mp3"][/audio] (Click here to download.)

  • The Bus Driver Who Wanted To Be God – And Has Even More Compassion --
    Drash, Yom Kippur Ne'ila 5777

    Choosing compassion to ensure that the door of the bus remains open for all.[audio mp3="http://bethsholomsf.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/YKNeila_HHD5777.mp3"][/audio] (Click here to download.)

  • Prayer For Israel -- A Yom Kippur Teaching, Yom Kippur 5777
    Putting together the ultimate "prayer package" for the State of Israel.[audio mp3="http://bethsholomsf.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/PrayerForIsrael_HHD5777.mp3"][/audio] (Click here to download.)

  • The Genesis of Murder: New Exegesis from Saramago to Levinas --
    Drash, Beraysheet (27 Tishrei 5777)

    The story of Cain, the genesis of murder, and the importance of gratitude.[audio mp3="http://bethsholomsf.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/GenesisBeraysheet_5777.mp3"][/audio] (Click here to download.)

Beraysheet -- Genesis 1:1-6:8

facebook_coverdesign_bereshitNew Beginnings: How do I want to begin again this year?

Whenever a new chapter in life is about to begin, it is wise to take a step back and ask: How do I want to begin? What are my hopes, aspirations, and dreams?

The Jewish New Year is a time to ask ourselves similar questions: How do I want to begin again this year? And, as we begin again at the Torah scroll's start, with Genesis, what role does my kehillah kedoshah (my sacred community) play in this new beginning?

Six decades ago, on Yom Ha'atzmaut, the American Jewish community was searching for a way to begin again with its religious Zionist dreams. Rabbi Yosef Dov haLevi Soloveitchik (z”l) delivered a now-classic talk about religious Zionist philosophy at Yeshiva University. "The Voice of My Beloved Knocks (Kol Dodi Dofek)" elaborates upon God’s tangible presence in the recent history of the Jewish people and the State of Israel — does this relationship constitute a "covenant of fate" (berit goral) or a "covenant of destiny" (berit yi’ud)?

Let's contrast fate and destiny. Although Jonah did not necessarily experience the joys of fate once the lots were drawn and he was cast off the ship by the sailors, we can still discern four positive consequences of the awareness of a shared fate: 1. shared historical circumstances; 2. shared suffering; 3. shared responsibility and liability; 4. shared activity. As opposed to the "covenant of fate," which was made with an enslaved people without free will, the "covenant of destiny" was made with a free nation which could, and did, make up its own mind. God does not simply impose the Torah on community; God offers it to us. And every year, God is still awaiting our response — anew. As a "people" (‘am, from the word ‘im, meaning "with"), therefore, we have no way to determine our own fate; as a "nation" (goy, related to the word geviyah, meaning "body"), however, we have the ability to forge our own destiny.

The story of creation we read of this week in Genesis 1:1-6:8 is a story of beginnings and creative inspiration, and all of this transpires within the creation that has already occurred – the divine Creator creates more than once. God as Creator forms the first human body from the unformed earth, blowing a living breath into it to form a soul. A help mate, Eve, is then formed for Adam. Moving from a state of radical loneliness to begin building community happens in relationship. But not all beginnings bode well or even last, and creation begins again with Noah, a righteous man alone in a corrupt world.

Are the end and the beginning of these episodes in the human condition "always there"? If so, what does this teach us about the way we wander and dwell in the here and now? I suggest that God offers us the opportunity to begin again by becoming a goy kadosh ("holy body") not only at Sinai (in the Book of Exodus), but also at the beginning of each year's Torah cycle – we have this opportunity for real growth.

Whether we live up to the challenge and take hold of Torah in our lives is really our choice – and our destiny. Each of us has the potential and creative power to harness a renewed covenantal relationship with our kehillah kedoshah, our sacred community at CBS. May this year give us all another opportunity to join and deepen our relationships to each other as we take hold of Torah – once again at the beginning everafter...

- Rabbi Aubrey Glazer

Artwork note: This week's artwork is inspired by one of the best known lines in the Torah. "And God said, 'Let there be light,' and there was light." (Genesis 1:3) The image was created with both the Kabbalistic creation story (the nitzotzot, or sparks of the divine) and prevailing cosmological theory (the Big Bang) in mind. Illustration by Christopher Orev Reiger.

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.

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Ki Tavo -- Deuteronomy 26:1 – 29:8

facebook_coverdesign_kitavoHow do you express your gratitude? With words? With a thank-you card?

A robust "attitude of gratitude" requires an act that acknowledges a benefactor’s benevolence and communicates one's grateful feelings. This is part of what Moses is teaching the Children of Israel through his own song in Deuteronomy; he instructs his people on how to cultivate the proper attitude for entering the Holy Land – after all, it is being given as an eternal gift. In settling and cultivating the land, the ritual of offering first ripened fruits or bikkurim at the Jerusalem Temple is a key moment in the agrarian lifecycle – here is a chance to proclaim one’s gratitude in community. Gratitude is often learned through our relation to others; thus tithing to the Levites and the needy are opportunities to cultivate gratitude. Sometimes we must see need in our midst to really appreciate the abundant blessings of our lives.

There is follow up here to the episode of blessings and curses that began its articulation in last week’s reading. Moses comments on the development of the Israelites since their birth as a nation; although their sense of peoplehood and commitment has evolved, they have not yet attained the maturity exemplified by "a mind to understand, or eyes to see or ears to hear." (29:3) In other words, aging does not always lead to emotional maturation, and this desert generation is still engaged in an ongoing process of "growing up" amidst innumerable challenges on the journey thus far.

- Rabbi Aubrey Glazer

Artwork note: This week's artwork features an opened pomegranate, one of the seven species brought to the Temple for the bikkurim offering."And it will be, when you come into the land which the Lord, your God, gives you for an inheritance, and you possess it and settle in it, that you shall take of the first of all the fruit of the ground, which you will bring from your land, which the Lord, your God, is giving you." (Deuteronomy 26:1–2) Because the pomegranate is also associated with Rosh Hashanah, it seemed only appropriate to feature it now. Illustration by Christopher Orev Reiger.

CBS Does Jewish Heritage Night

Nathaniel&SamTeitelbaumEllaLaelSturm_SFGiantsJewishHeritageNight_August2016Every year, sometime in late July or August, Bay Area Jews from all walks of life descend on AT&T Park for what just might become our fourth Pilgrimage Festival. The annual ingathering of the Jews known as San Francisco Giants Jewish Heritage Night is always a great deal of fun, and last night was no exception.

Over 70 CBS congregants and friends participated in the 2016 Jewish Heritage Night (Tuesday, August 30), and many came well before the first pitch to check out the pregame celebration at the north end of Terry Francois Boulevard, just across McCovey Cove (best known for kayakers retrieving "splash hits," home runs hit over the right field wall into the water). Some stalwart Jewish organizations working in the Bay Area, including PJ Library, the Jewish Community Federation, Reboot, and Keshet, set up information tables at the party, and, as always, our Chabadnik brothers patrolled the crowd looking for Jews – all men, per their take on halacha (Jewish law) – to lay tefillin. The popular Rally Rabbi blew the shofar to announce Rosh Hashanah's approach (it may be a month away, but it's always good for the soul to hear the blast of "Tekiah"!), and a handful of bands performed for all assembled.

Sadly, our Giants fell to the Arizona Diamondbacks in a close game (4-3). Still, any evening at the ballpark is a treat, and knowing that a good segment of the crowd is composed of fellow yidden and their family and friends is a great reason to smile, as so many of us did.

Thanks to all who participated this year and to the Giants for putting the event on. Next year, at AT&T Park again...and may we win!

A selection of photographs snapped during the event are included below. Visit our Facebook page for more photos.
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Welcoming Shabbat Nachamu

Sadly, the time has come for us to bid our all-star Jewish Vocational Service (JVS) Kohn Summer Intern, Claire Ambruster, a fond adieu.

For eight weeks this summer, Claire was a welcome addition to the CBS team. Without exception, every member of the CBS staff was very impressed with her and pleased with the work she did. As Rabbi Glazer wrote, "Claire was a pleasure to work with – responsive, responsible, and Jewishly knowledgeable and curious. Her ability to juggle multiple tasks and manage her time is noteworthy as are her people skills. This bodes well for future service in the Jewish community and beyond!"

We wish Claire the very best, and hope to see more of her since she'll just be across the Bay at Mills College. Fortunately for us, she is sharing one final blog contribution, this one about Shabbat Nachamu (August 20).

* * * * *

Facebook_ModehAni_ClaireThis summer, I was very grateful to have had the opportunity to work at Congregation Beth Sholom through the Jewish Vocational Service (JVS) Kohn internship. I worked in different departments here at CBS, which allowed me to gain perspective into different types of work — from accounting to communications. I really enjoyed getting to know my coworkers and the CBS community. Thank you to everyone who helped to make my time here full of growth!

Did you know that this coming Shabbat is a special one?

Shabbat Nachamu begins this Friday evening, the Shabbat following Tisha B’Av. Just yesterday, Tisha B’Av brought a period of intense mourning for many losses, including the destruction of the Temples in Jerusalem. However, on Shabbat Nachamu we make a complete shift, focusing instead on hope, healing, and light. Although we fasted and had no celebrations on Tisha B’Av, we have celebrations and weddings after Shabbat Nachamu.

Shabbat Nachamu also begins the seven weeks leading up to Rosh Hashanah — marking the start of a journey towards teshuvah and repentance. Despite our feelings of brokenness on Tisha B’Av, these seven weeks symbolize completeness, reminiscent of the seven days of the week or the seven days of shiva. For these next seven weeks, we read a weeky haftarah that provides comfort. On Shabbat Nachamu, we begin the haftarah with the line "Nachamu nachamu ami yomer eloheim," which means "You all comfort, comfort My people, says G-d" (Isaiah 40:1). In other words, "Come together and comfort each other and you will heal."

How does our tradition expect us to suddenly turn from complete mourning, loss, and destruction to comfort, healing, and hope — what really has changed? How many of us actually have the ability to just change our focus when we feel despair? And where does pain go?

In Mark Nepo’s The Book of Awakening, he relates a Hindu parable about a student who frequently complained. To teach her student a lesson, the master told her to put a handful of salt in a glass of water and then to drink it. It tasted bitter. Then, the master told her student to drop the salt into the lake and taste it again. Now, the salt was diluted and the water tasted fresh. At this, the master told her apprentice, "The pain of life is pure salt; no more, no less. The amount of pain in life remains the same, exactly the same. But the amount of bitterness we taste depends on the container we put the pain in. So when you are in pain, the only thing you can do is to enlarge your sense of things... Stop being a glass. Become a lake" (Nepo 18). On Shabbat Nachamu, we are called to become a lake. Although pain may always exist, we expand our perspective to include infinite sorrows and joys.

No matter the roadblocks, we can possess extensive gratitude — and those "roadblocks" can become "stepping stones" to learning something new. The Hebrew expression for gratitude is "hikarat hatov," literally, "recognizing the good." Each of us has many things to be thankful for — no matter what. In Pirkei Avot, it states, "Who is rich? Those who rejoice in their own lot" (Pirkei Avot 4:1). In this way, our choices are what determine our outlook — and that is the wisdom of Shabbat Nachamu.

Artwork credit & note: Claire Ambruster, Modeh Ani, Watercolor on paper, 2015; Claire wanted this piece to accompany her article because the title and first words of our morning prayer, "Modeh ani," mean "I give thanks." That sentiment (and the practice of reciting the Modeh Ani with intention) can help us "become a lake."

Renew Our Days: The High Holy Days Unbound

AvivaChernickShaliach tzibbur (prayer leader), musician, and teacher Aviva Chernick returns to CBS to lead 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.

Renew Our Days is not halachic (e.g., there is no Torah service or sermon) – the service is based on traditional liturgy, but not bound to it. Highlighting selected passages and prayers, Aviva will guide participants on a journey, an opportunity to rediscover and reconnect with the spiritual, emotional, and intellectual substance of Jewish prayer and the High Holy Days. "So much of what we want and need is already in the liturgy," Aviva says, and it extends "an invitation to our spirits, voices, bodies, and minds."

Join us in song, prayer, and reflection as we experience
the "Days of Awe" in a fresh and inspiring way.

Renew Our Days is open to all CBS High Holy Day ticket holders, but space is limited and preregistration is required. Please plan to join us promptly at 10 a.m. The service will end at approximately 1 p.m. If you will be joining us, we ask that you R.S.V.P.: just click here and follow the registration instructions. (For a little taste of the prayer lab's vibe, we invite you to listen to Aviva’s lovely interpretation of Chadeish Yameinu.)

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Renew Our Days is supported by two anonymous grants.

Service Details
Renew Our Days: Rosh Hashanah Unbound |  10 a.m. – 1 p.m., Gronowski Family Chapel
Renew Our Days: Yom Kippur Unbound |    10 a.m. – 1 p.m., Gronowski Family Chapel

REGISTER FOR RENEW OUR DAYS HERE!
___________
RENEW OUR DAYS WORKSHOP
Many of the Renew Our Days service melodies will be easy to sing, but new to service participants. Because Aviva wants to maximize the experience of all who join the special High Holy Days prayer lab, she is offering an optional Renew Our Days Workshop on Sunday, September 25, 11 a.m. – 12:30 p.m., in the Gronowski Family Chapel. Please join CBS congregants and friends as we get to know Aviva and become comfortable with the service melodies before the new year. (When you register for the services, you will automatically be registered for this workshop.)

Even before the workshop in late September, service participants can begin acquainting themselves with some of the Renew Our Days melodies. Please enjoy these simple recordings – sing along and let them warm you up for what is to come. (Just click on the melody names to listen.)

NEWER MELODIES FOR THE MORNING SERVICE:
1. Binah Niggun, by Joey Weisenberg – (Or download music file)
2. Carlebach Niggun, by Shlomo Carlebach – (Or download music file)
3. Modah Ani, by Rabbi Shefa Gold – (Or download music file)
4. Elohai Neshama, by Rabbi Shefa Gold – (Or download music file)
5. Baruch Sheamar, by Rabbi Shefa Gold – (Or download music file)
6. Nishmat Kol Chai, by Joey Weisenberg – (Or download music file)
7. Hayom, by Aviva Chernick – (Or download music file)

FAMILIAR MELODIES FOR THE HIGH HOLY DAYS:
8. Zochreynu
9. Michalkel Chayim – (Or download music file)
10. B'rosh Hashanah – (Or download music file)
11. U'teshuvah U'tefilah U'tzedakah – (Or download music file)
12. Avinu Malkeinu – (Or download music file)
13. Ki Anu Amecha – (Or download music file)

Youth & Family High Holy Days Programming

CBS is a stand-out family destination
for the High Holy Days!
PreschoolMural1CBS offers a selection of age-specific programs and services for children and/or their parents. With the exception of the Family Services, a modest donation is requested for each participating child.

If you have any questions, please contact us via email or call 415.940.7092.

FAMILY SERVICES
Our popular and interactive Family Services are designed for families with young children ages 2 – 11. The services provide an opportunity for children to connect with the rituals, music, and stories of the High Holy Days in a warm and fun context. Older siblings are always welcome. The Family Services this year will feature the engaging and family-friendly Machzor Katan, and occur at 8:45 a.m. on Rosh Hashanah Day 1 and Yom Kippur. No tickets are required.

LAUNCH KADIMA 5777
We’re also pleased to announce Launch Kadima 5777, a unique, new program specifically designed for Jewish students in Grades 6 – 8. Led by David Herrera, a charismatic and popular leader among Bay Area youth, Launch Kadima 5777 is an engaging and fun way to kick off the New Year. It doesn’t matter whether you know all there is to know about "doing Jewish" or if it’s all just Hebrew to you, Launch Kadima provides a supportive and engaging experience for young Jews of all stripes and knowledge levels. Just $50 for three days of song, art, learning, and fun – Rosh Hashanah Days 1 & 2 and Yom Kippur – and that price includes your annual Kadima membership! Ain’t that (New Year) sweet! Click here to sign your kid(s) up.

DAYS OF AWESOMENESS
Days of AWEsomeness programming will explore the themes of the High Holy Days through communal prayer, games, storytelling, and music. Days of AWEsomeness is open to children in Kindergarten – Grade 5. Click here to reserve space for your kid(s).

CHILDCARE
Childcare will also be available for children ages newborn – Pre-K during all High Holy Days services. Click here to reserve space for your kid(s).

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.

5777 HIGH HOLY DAY SEASON SERVICES & PROGRAMS

SELICHOT
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 DAYS
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

SUKKOT
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

SHEMINI ATZERET & SIMCHAT TORAH
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)

Emor -- Leviticus 21:1 – 24:23

CoverDesign_EmorIn a candid moment, the renowned American scholar of the Gnostic Gospels, Elaine Pagels (b. 1943), once remarked that her research of these early religious texts taught her something interesting:

These ancient stories in religion speak to our desire. But they move us toward hope.

Where might one experience this correlation between desire and hope that really speaks to us about Judaism as a religion? Is it through interpersonal ethics? Familiar customs? Or, on the other hand, through rituals that deepen the human-divine relationship? Holiness calls out to us, but how and when do we hear the call?

The second section of Emor, literally “speaks out” and addresses us in describing the annual callings to holiness: a weekly sabbatical retreat; an annual paschal offering on the 14th of Nisan as well as the seven day cycle of Pesach (Passover) beginning on the 15th of Nisan; the gathering and elevating of the Omer offering from the first barley harvest on the second day of Passover to its culmination in Shavuot; the primal cry of the shofar on the 1st of Tishrei for Rosh Hashanah; followed by a fast day on the 10th of Tishrei; culminating with a seven-day festival for dwelling in booths while dancing with the four species on the 15th of Tishrei and then the after-party of the Eighth day of Assembly marking the pilgrimage route home with Shemini Atzeret.

By contrast, the first section of Emor speaks to laws pertaining to Temple service of the high priest.

All in all, there is something about sacred time that speaks to each of us differently, yet the sacred somehow finds a way to take place in our lives through the Jewish calendar and the synagogue.

- Rabbi Aubrey Glazer

Artwork note: This week's artwork is inspired by the many harsh directives that appear in Parashat Emor, directives that exclude many Israelites (e.g., the deformed, disabled, or sick) from full belonging and that command our ancestors to stone to death various offenders. From Leviticus 24:13-14: "Then the Lord spoke to Moses, saying: Take the blasphemer outside the camp, and all who heard shall lean their hands on his head. And the entire community shall stone him." Holiness may call out to us, but in the stratified and severe worldview of our ancestors, it has the voice of a potentate. So, again, with the wrestling! Illustration by Christopher Orev Reiger.

Kezayit: Counting the Omer

What's this Kezayit thing? Read here.

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Gif_Omer1Another Pesach (Passover) has come and gone. The next Jewish holiday on the radar of many Jews is Rosh Hashanah, but even if we ignore the "minor" holidays and observances -- if, for example, you won't be fasting on the 17th of Tammuz (July 24) -- Shavuot is a big deal, and it's just over a month away!

Shavuot is such a big deal, in fact, that we have a countdown until it arrives...or maybe it's better called a "countup"? The 49-day period between the second night of Pesach and Shavuot is referred to as the omer, and it's a mitzvah (commandment) to count the days as they pass (Sefirat HaOmer).

So what's an omer, and why are we counting it? Way back in the days of the First Temple, an omer (a sheaf, or an ancient unit of measure) of barley was brought to the Temple as an offering to HaShem, an expression of gratitude for the harvest season. The Omer period begins with this barley offering, and the Torah dictates the aforementioned counting:

Gif_Omer8 Gif_Omer5You shall count from the eve of the second day of Pesach, when an omer of grain is to be brought as an offering, seven complete weeks. The day after the seventh week of your counting will make fifty days, and you shall present a new meal offering to G-d (Leviticus 23:15-16).”

In the Torah, this counting seems connected only to the agricultural calendar, a way of reckoning when the wheat harvest should begin (i.e., when the count is completed, on Shavuot). Over time, however, Shavuot became associated with the giving of Torah to Israel at Mount Sinai. In fact, for contemporary Jews, Shavuot is more closely associated with divine revelation than with agricultural bounty.

Likewise, the counting of the Omer has also taken on metaphysical significance. Today, the Omer is interpreted as a bridge between Pesach and Shavuot. Writing for MyJewishLearning.com, Rabbi Jill Jacobs explains:

"While Passover celebrates the initial liberation of the Jewish people from slavery in Egypt, Shavuot marks the culmination of the process of liberation, when the Jews became an autonomous community with their own laws and standards. Counting up to Shavuot reminds us of this process of moving from a slave mentality to a more liberated one."

The remarkable transformation from close-minded slaves to liberated souls prepared to receive Torah didn't come easy for our ancestors, and it doesn't come any easier for us. To help Jews carry out the spiritual and personal work of the Omer, Jewish mystics of the 16th century assigned the weeks and days of the Omer count to particular characteristics or emotions, drawing on their knowledge of Kabbalah and the sephirot of the Tree of Life. The Chabad website includes a detailed primer about how observant Jews should "examine and refine" each attribute or feeling as they move through the Omer season. It's worth exploring this approach to the Omer; it has mystical roots, but it's a remarkably practical self-improvement system and offers us a wonderful way to make the season meaningful, even profound.Gif_Omer15

The animated GIFs that accompany this post are highlights from graphic designer and artist Hillel Smith's GIF the Omer: Best Omer Ever project, "a fun, daily typographic Omer counter" that Smith has launched as part of his ongoing effort "to create new takes on traditional forms, melding ancient practices with a contemporary aesthetic."

We encourage you to visit GIF the Omer regularly to check out more of Smith's animations. (You can even opt to subscribe for daily email updates.) And, hey, if you decide to start working the Omer program, so much the better!

Image credits and captions:
All GIF artworks by Hillel Smith, 2016
From top:
Day 1 of the Omer
Day 8 of the Omer (Note: 8 = ח)
Day 5 of the Omer (Note: Numeral systems depicted include Arabic, Burmese, Braille, Chinese, Greek, Hebrew, Korean, Sundanese, and a bunch more.)
Day 15 of the Omer (Note: 15 = טו)

Kezayit (An Olive's Worth): A Proper Purim Greeting

Purim is almost here! It won't be long before we're masked, spieling, ring tossing, and bottoms upping! Mark your calendars for Sunday, March 12, 2017, when our PURIMPALOOZA: Community Purim Carnival & Spiel To Support CBS Educational Programs will take place!

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Invert
According to Wikipedia, Quora, and just about any website we could find, there are three traditional Purim salutations: "Chag Purim Sameach!" ("Happy Purim Festival/Holiday!" in Hebrew); "Freilichin Purim!" ("Happy Purim!" in Yiddish); and "Purim Allegre!" ("Happy Purim!" in Ladino). Indeed, when you've come to CBS Purim carnivals and megillah readings in past years, it's a sure thing you were welcomed with one of those greetings.

The thing of it is, "Chag Purim Sameach!" ain't exactly exact. Although the greeting is widely used and accepted, Purim isn't technically a festival, or chag. The only chagim we observe are the Yom Tovim, the six Biblically-mandated festivals: the first and seventh days of Pesach (Passover), the first day of Shavuot, both days of Rosh Hashanah, the first day of Sukkot, the first day of Shemini Atzeret, and Yom Kippur. In the Diaspora, the redundant, second-day iterations of some of these are also considered Yom Tovim or chagim. Purim is notably absent from the list. Somewhere along the line (l'dor va'dor -- generation to generation), however, the greeting that should be reserved for true chagim was also attached to Hanukkah and Purim.

In a recent discussion with Rabbi Glazer, your CBS Communications Coordinator learned of a more appropriate greeting for Purim, one you might consider using this year. "V’nahafokh hu!" ("We shall invert things!") Rabbi Glazer explained that this greeting, which is drawn from two verses in the megillah (Esther 9:1 and 9:22), is the most incisive option. It speaks to Purim's most significant theme, namely that "everything should be inverted in a cruel and broken world, leaving only compassion and random acts of selfless lovingkindness."

Rabbi Julia Andelman (of the Jewish Theological Seminary) breaks things down further in a 2014 article:

"Purim is a holiday of reversals—written into the megillah itself. Haman creates an elaborate ritual by which the king should honor him, but his enemy Mordechai is honored with that same ritual instead. The gallows Haman builds for Mordechai end up being the instrument of his own death. And the fate of a nation changes from doom to victory in the blink of an eye: 'And so, on the 13th day of the 12th month—that is, the month of Adar—when the king’s demand and decree were to be executed, the very day on which the enemies of the Jews had expected to get them in their power, v’nahafokh hu — the situation was reversed—and the Jews got their enemies in their power instead' (Esther 9:1). Reversals of fortune, narratives doubling back on themselves in opposing incarnations, are to be found everywhere in the Book of Esther; and so the theme of a holiday — v’nahafokh hu — is born. Cross-dressing, inebriation, public parodies of teachers and friends—all of these traditionally questionable or forbidden boundary crossings are sanctioned and even celebrated on this one day of the year when norms are freely reversed."

This year, let's turn things upside down and shake out what's broken or cruel. V’nahafokh hu!

Rabbi Glazer's High Holy Days Drashot

cfde8820-d953-48d6-8915-d48578b87f8eWe're realistic. We understand that not everyone can make it to services, classes, or special programs at CBS. Work, travel, family commitments, ill health, a flat tire, or a Netflix binge -- so many things can prevent us from in-person attendance.

Going forward, CBS will digitally archive all of our classes, sermons, and lectures. We feel that whether you make it to shul or not, "shul school" should be open for your enjoyment and edification!

We're kicking this project off with recordings of Rabbi Glazer's High Holy Days 5776 drashot (sermons) and divrei torah ("words of Torah"). You can listen just below or visit our Audio Resources page to listen!

Rosh Hashanah Day 1:
Drash -- Homecoming & Displacement
A reflection on teshuvah, diaspora, imagination, memory, and place.
[audio mp3="http://bethsholomsf.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/RH1_5776_Sermon_HomecomingDisplacement.mp3"][/audio]
D'var Torah -- Genesis 21
Poet Mary Oliver, the birth of Isaac, and Jewish practice creating opportunity for renewal.
[audio mp3="http://bethsholomsf.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/RH1_5776_TorahReading.mp3"][/audio]
Rosh Hashanah Day 2:
Drash -- Heroes vs. Heroism
Contemporary Jewish crisis, the Iran Deal, and true heroism.
[audio mp3="http://bethsholomsf.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/RH2_5776_Sermon_HeroesHeroism.mp3"][/audio]
D'var Torah -- Genesis 22
Leonard Cohen, sacrifice, awareness, and the Akedah (binding of Isaac).
[audio mp3="http://bethsholomsf.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/RH2_5776_TorahReading.mp3"][/audio]
Kol Nidre:
Drash -- Recovering the Lost Art of Rebuke
The value of toch'acha, defined as constructive rebuke or "sacred nagging."
[audio mp3="http://bethsholomsf.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/KN_5776_Sermon_RecoveringLostArtOfRebuke.mp3"][/audio]
Yom Kippur, Yizkor:
Drash -- To a Life of Forgiveness
Daily rites of forgiveness, with Michelangelo, Abraham Lincoln, Joseph, and Immaculée Ilibagiza.
[audio mp3="http://bethsholomsf.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/YK_5776_Sermon_ToALifeOfForgiveness.mp3"][/audio]

Join Us For Rosh Hashanah!

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As the holiday’s name suggest, Rosh Hashanah, or “head of the year,” marks the beginning of a new Hebrew year. We’ve taken another spin ‘round time’s spiral and 5776 is just two days away!

But Rosh Hashanah doesn't just mark a new calendar year; it is also a holiday of renewal that commemorates the creation of the world and designates the start of The Ten Days of Repentance (aseret y’mei t'shuvah), better known as the Yamim Noraim, or the Days of Awe, a 10-day period of spiritual self-examination, repentance, and renewal that culminates in Yom Kippur.

We invite you to join us for Erev Rosh Hashanah and Rosh Hashanah services this Sunday evening, Monday, and Tuesday, September 13, 14, and 15. Together, we’ll hearken to the sound of the shofar, welcome the new year, take stock, and rededicate ourselves to our ideals.

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At Congregation Beth Sholom, we offer two main services.

Our SANCTUARY SERVICES will have many familiar melodies for the High Holy Days — intentionally without a cantor — to carry forward the interactive spiritual journey through music that has been underway at Beth Sholom.

KORET HALL SERVICES are participatory, engaging, and accessible davening experiences interspersed with teachings.

Additionally, we offer FAMILY SERVICES FOR CHILDREN AND THEIR FAMILIES. These are led by Beth Sholom’s Director of Congregational Learning, Michael Lederman, Director of Early Childhood Education, Katherine Friedman Barboni, and our Music Director, Jonathan Bayer. Rabbinic Intern Amanda Russell and Rabbi Aubrey Glazer will also make special guest appearances.

Visit our HaRuach High Holy Days guide for all the details!

If you aren't a member of Congregation Beth Sholom and you'd like to obtain tickets, please click here.

L'shanah tovah tikatev v'taihatem!

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