I love the liturgy of Rosh Hashanah. Prayers, such as l’el Oreyh Din, Unetaneh Tokef, B’rosh Hashanah, or Hayom, along with their unique and haunting melodies are always majestic, spiritually uplifting, and thought provoking. Maybe their allure is due to the fact that I only pray them at the High Holy Days. I’ve always enjoyed the service since I was a kid. Becoming a rabbi only increased my knowledge and understanding of the awesomeness of the days.
As time has gone by, I’ve also come to value and appreciate not only the traditional liturgy and service structure but new, alternative ways of approaching prayer, spirituality, and connectedness to the Divine. One of the best examples of this is our highly successful SholomPlex Shabbat. There is something for everyone to connect with prayer. Building upon SholomPlex’ s theme of spiritual connectedness and choice with tefillot, is our new second day Rosh Hashanah service opportunity. This year we are offering both the traditional service and a new multi-generational, family-based progressive service called: “Hayom – Today is a Day for Something New.” The name comes from the last major prayer of the Rosh Hashanah service, Hayom.
The traditional service will take place in the sanctuary, starting at 9 AM and finish at the usual time of 1:20 PM or so. I will be leading the preliminary and Shacharit service before heading off to the alternative service. Rav-Hazzan Sokol will be with the main service throughout the time and will even be giving the sermon along with some new musical parts to the liturgy not heard in previous years.
Our new “Hayom” service, under the tent, will start at 10:30 AM and run approximately to noon. Within the service there will be different nigunim, alternative Rosh Hashanah English readings, all-congregational singing and an experiential abridged Torah reading. There won’t be a Haftorah, Musaf, or formal sermon. Our service will end with the ever-power shofar blowing. Families are encouraged to sit together, however, there will not be any assigned seating or reserved spots. Even the seating and bimah set-up will be different.
If you are just starting the day at the Hayom service, you can then go to the main service in the sanctuary afterwards as your ticket is valid for both; please let us know if you and your family will be attending the Hayom service so we can account for the proper number of chairs.
As I began by noting my excitement for the Rosh Hashanah service, this year, I am especially excited for traditional and new opportunities awaiting us. I look forward to entering into 5778 with a deep sense of joy, wonder, enrichment, and community feeling.
From my family to yours, may you have a sweet and joyous New Year,
Rabbi, Dr. Larry Bazer