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Turning Lemons into Lemonade this High Holyday Season

Dear Friends,

There are times when we are confronted by surprises. Challenging circumstances are simply a part of life! And frequently, we are able to evaluate our resiliency and fortitude as individuals and as a community based on our responses to life’s challenges. A couple of months ago, our staff was informed that due to the early High Holyday season this year, we would be unable to use the fellowship hall at Church of the Ascension due to planned maintenance. Church of the Ascension has been a wonderful neighbor to us all these years, and we look forward to working with them for many years to come. Faced with this quandary, and after looking at a variety of other options, the ritual committee, board, and staff decided the best decision for our community was to join together for one service in our sanctuary this year for Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur.

Even with the acknowledged sadness in the hearts of many that there will be no kehillah ketanah this year, I believe there is lemonade to be made of these lemons. I believe there will be something nice about coming together as one holy community for the holiest days of the year. Furthermore, we will have the opportunity to feel the fullness and vitality of our community as we begin a year of strategic transition into CBD’s next 50 years.  We will join together on Kol Nidre eve as Rabbi Pressman reflects upon his esteemed tenure as our congregation’s spiritual leader and begins his final ten months on the pulpit. We will be together as I lay out my rabbinic vision for the future of CBD, a vision that largely comes from feedback and comments members shared at our widely-attended community meeting on June 9th, the visioning work I have begun with our board of directors, and my own sense of our potential as a community.

On a different note, coming together in one space, as one community, gives us the opportunity to try some new things! Each morning of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur at 9:30am, Rabbi Pressman or I will be leading an interactive text study on corethemes related to the holidays. We encourage all who are stimulated by Torah study to join us for those sessions! We will also be incorporating the talents of our many lay prayer leaders into the services in coordination with our wonderful High Holyday Hazzan, Andreas Levy.

So, yes, this year’s Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur services at CBD will feel a little bit different. Yet, I am confident that with a certain amount of derekh eretz (mentschlichkeit or manners) and kavod (respect) for one another, we will each find a sacred space for prayerful contemplation during these High Holydays. May we all taste the sweetness of the lemonade we are making together!

On behalf of Shoshana, Ari, Eli, one-whose-name-cannot-be-mentioned (yet!) and myself, we wish each and every one of you a Shanah Tovah u’metukah, a sweet and good new year!