Thinking About The New Year
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Thinking About The New Year
We’ve done lots of looking backward, but now is the time to think forward. What are we hoping to accomplish in the coming year? What are we afraid of, and what are we excited about? What is one thing we hope to have accomplished by next Rosh Hashanah? Go around the table and lay out some goals for the year to come.
The Yamim Noraim (Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur) are here. We’re tasked with reflecting on our lives and practicing teshuvah (returning). Through teshuvah we examine our actions over the past year, seek forgiveness from ourselves, others, and the Divine and dedicate ourselves to do better next year. These sacred days provide an opportunity to ask ourselves the hardest questions and explore all the...
I started giving blessings at High Holiday services at my shul. I sat in the lobby and put up a sign on an empty chair offering blessings. Since then I've created a simple format and trained people. The "Blessing Booth" has become part of High Holiday services and many Friday evening services.
Giving a holy blessing is a beautiful thing. Anyone can learn to do it. It is brief, under five minutes. It is...
The shehechiyanu blessing thanks the creator for giving us life, sustaining us, and allowing us to reach this day. This blessing is said at momentous occasions, and tonight counts because it is the night when we can finally look back on the whole previous year. We made it! Whether bitter or sweet, difficult or fun, tonight we celebrate and feel grateful for making it to today, and to this table to reflect with people we...
Unetaneh Tokef is a medieval prayer, of unknown authorship, recited in the Musaf Service of both Rosh Ha-Shanah and Yom Kippur. Unetaneh Tokef affirms our own mortality, asking, “Who shall live and who shall die?” In it, we state that through teshuvah (repentance), tefilah (prayer), and tzedakah (acts of justice) we can transform our destiny and give meaning to our lives.
We shall ascribe holiness...
Candlelight is very different than the harsh lights of our homes and offices. We begin Shabbat bathed in their sweet, gentle glow.
Candles are lit a minimum of 18 minutes before sundown on Friday evening.
Light at least two candles (some add an additional candle for each child.)
Draw in the light by waving your hands toward your eyes three times.
Recite the blessing, while covering your eyes...
Nearly all Jewish holiday begin with lighting candles, and so this one will, too. After we light the candles we wave our hands in three big horizontal circles to symbolically bring the light closer to us, and then cover our eyes while we say the blessing. When the blessing is over take a moment of silent reflection with your eyes covered, and then open your eyes and enjoy the beauty of candlelight, bringing you into the...