September 22, 2023
Shana tova! It was wonderful to be together with so many of you over Rosh Hashanah. There was a palpable joy in the air! I hope that each of you found a point of connection with some piece of prayer, ritual, or melody. One of the great blessings of the High Holy Days is the reminder that we are connected to a chain of generations who prayed, sang, ate apples and honey, did the ritual of Tashlich, and welcomed the new year in community and with loved ones. We are reminded that they, too, experienced the power of the Yamim Noraim (Days of Awe) as they reflected on who they had been and who they yet wanted to be—how they could best bring the unique gifts of their souls into this world. As we move into Yom Kippur, we wish each other “G’mar chatimah tova” – may we be sealed for life in the book of life. Yom Kippur, though a day of fasting and gravitas, is also understood by our sages to be one of the most joyous days of the year (along with Tu b’Av, the day of celebrating love!) The blessing of renewal, and of opportunities for growth and teshuvah (returning to our truest selves), along with the blessing of being together in community, are a source of joy indeed.
May this Shabbat Shuva (the Shabbat of Return) and the days ahead be a meaningful time of connection to self, others, community, and tradition.
Rabbi Audrey Marcus Berkman