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Shalom from Rabbi Kula
September 16, 2019 – 16 Elul, 5779
Shalom, Beth Shalom and Friends!
Selichot means prayers, poems, and meditations of forgiveness, referring specifically to the liturgy recited prior to and during the High Holyday season. While Rosh Hashana is commonly considered the official start, tradition, however, teaches, that this sacred season begins a month earlier in order for us to prepare meaningfully, taking stock of who we are, where we have been, and how we intend to proceed with our lives.
Formal Selichot liturgy is recited beginning this Saturday 7:00 pm, September 21, here at Beth Shalom. Opportunity is the theme for our Selichot. We are poised to welcome the new year embracing the opportunities before us. We have the opportunity to forgive others and ourselves, we have the opportunity to change, or, at least tweak our behavior to improve our lives. We have the opportunity to be more compassionate to others; we have the opportunity to give and share more and speak with sensitivity to the power of our words. We have the opportunity to accept what life offers and actively engage in taking control of what we can. Selichot will tend to our unique awareness of opportunity.
Selichot’s penitential prayers and liturgy resonate forgiveness and mercy tailored to direct our hearts and minds towards Teshuvah (repentance). They include the words "God will answer us," recalling the times in Jewish history when God answered those who have called for guidance and love. And, God will answer us today, as we yearn for inspiration.
All are welcome to our musical and spiritual Selichot when we remove the Torah scrolls from the ark, change the mantles to white marking the onset of the High Holydays. Welcome the opportunity of a clean slate for us to inscribe our hopes and wishes and pray for God’s inscription that we be granted a year of blessing. Following the one hour Selichot ceremony we share an Oneg of sweets.
Shana Tova Umetukah-May you be blessed with a sweet new year. Leheetraot- Looking forward to seeing you.
Rabbi Mark Kula
This Wednesday at 4 pm we excitedly begin Shalom Kids, our Jewish learning program for kindergarten to Bar and Bat Mitvzah. Thank you to our volunteer teachers, tutors and Amber for her leadership of Shalom Kids. If you know any students or families who would benefit from Shalom Kids let them know they are welcome and we would be happy to reach out to them.
The High Holidays bring us some of our most beautiful melodies and heart-wrenching prayers. Listening to or chanting them on our own is a wonderful way to prepare for this time of introspection, transformation, and t’shuva - returning to our truest selves. Below are some recordings of holiday tunes to get you into the spirit of the season (that you won’t hear over and over again on the radio!). Try playing them or singing with them as a meditative practice while you’re sitting or lying down, focusing on your intentions for the New Year. You’ll be hearing these on Selichot this Saturday and throughout the High Holidays, so now you can get a head start on being able to sing along during services.
Lyrics for all here.
May our voices be heard and our prayers received,
Amber Ikeman, Cantorial Soloist/Program Director
Join our High Holiday Team!
Our High Holiday services, Rosh Hashanah oneg (reception), and Yom Kippur break-the-fast are undertakings that are only made possible by the contributions of our wonderful volunteers. We have many opportunities to pitch in, including: providing apples and honey or honey cake, greeting people as they arrive, and helping with set up/clean up. Sign up here!
Letter from Rabbi Kula
Mazel Tov on uniting as Rabbi and community.
I am honored and delighted to join the Congregation Beth Shalom family and Bozeman community. These are exciting and challenging times. Let us take care of ourselves and others, nurture our relationships, and tap into profound Jewish wisdom. We will then surely thrive and be blessed.
L’heetraot- I look forward to seeing you soon!
Rabbi Mark H. Kula
Learn more about Rabbi Kula here.
Please see calendar for full list.
Congregation Beth Shalom is a place where affiliates of all ages come together to be a learning and spiritual community who joyfully pray together and celebrate Jewish history and tradition. We cultivate in our affiliates a lifelong connection to Judaism through the lens of the Reform and Renewal movements.