Rosh Hashanah D’var at Olney Kehila

Text of the “D’var” that I had the pleasure of sharing at Olney Kehila for Rosh Hashanah services today. on a Jewish spiritual practice of naming your year as a way to determine how you will be written into the Book of Life. Photo Credit: Ron Almog, used by CC-A permissions

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Juicy Delicious Judaism – A Rosh Hashanah Drash

I was honored to be asked to speak at the Rosh Hashanah services of Olney Kehilah this year. Below is the text of the “drash” I gave.

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The Shofar: Symbol of Tishrei, Symbol of Judaism

Sep 18, 11 The Shofar: Symbol of Tishrei, Symbol of Judaism

Posted by in Rosh Chodesh, Rosh Hashanah

Tishrei 5772 begins at Sundown on Wednesday, September 28, 2011 The shofar is not only a symbol we all associate with Tishrei, but it’s also a symbol of Judaism.  Many of us only think about the shofar at the High Holy days, but in ancient times it was used regularly in religious rites. Blow the shofar at the new moon, at the full moon for our feast-day. (Psalm 81:3) In Psalms, we see the order to blow the shofar at both the new moon, Rosh Chodesh, and the full moon feast days. Historically the shofar would have been used to call us to prayer and attention for a myriad of reasons and events.  The shofar was also the sound of G-d/dess’ voice we hear at Sinai.  Is it any wonder that this ancient relic is one we still treasure today?  When considering the shofar, also remember that it is a sign of our history as a nation of shepherds.  I’m exploring purchasing my first shofar, and finding that I not only want one that is beautiful and playable — but also that I know comes from an animal that is not just kosher, but was also raised with respect and given a good life.  I also want it to be local.  Why should I import a shofar from a foreign country, when there are so many sheep right here? I would like to learn to play the shofar, but I also want to incorporate it into my fall altar, or spiritual focal point if you prefer. If you are unfamiliar with the idea of having a Jewish personal altar, here’s a post  about the practice. This Tishrei, consider the Shofar as more than something you just hear at synagogue.  Explore the history, symbolism, elemental aspects, and potential spiritual uses.  Like Torah, the shofar can be understood on four (and probably more levels).  Consider the shofar at it’s literal level, the alluded to meanings, the “drash” or hidden story, and the mystical meaning.Here are some...

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Rosh Hashanah Drosh 5769

This is the drosh, more or less, that I’ll be giving at Rosh Hashanah on Tuesday night.  I’ve invited several people to speak on the topic of being Called to Sacred Service.  Usually I just speak from my heart, with only a little preparation, but then I never really know what I said.  I thought this year I would try writing it out in advance, so I can share it. L’shana Tova.  May you find abundance in the new year. ————————– Rosh Hashanah 5769 A lot of people talk to G!(d)dess, but very few actually hear the response.  People pray and pray, and only if what they asked for is given in the way they expected it do they say their prayers were answered.  But what happens if you are one of those who are in conversation with G!(d)dess?  What if you are someone who hears the response, even when it’s not the one you wanted?   That’s a major part of how I’ve experienced being “called.”  I think that anyone who is in conversation with G!(d)dess finds that they have no choice but to share what they learn, even if it is indirect ways. The problem is that there isn’t usually a map provided when you are called; you act based on the best information you have.  There are so many stories of prophets and holy men who just seemed to be jerks.  Look at Abraham, twice he basically whores out his wife to Kings despite her objections.  Not really a nice thing to do.  Plus he kicks out his concubine and first son, and, of course is willing to sacrifice his second son. It seems like callings drive you nuts or drives everyone around you nuts. So what I wonder is how do I answer the call I’ve received without alienating everyone around me?  Is that even possible?  Can I answer the call without sacrificing material comfort?  That’s a lot less to ask than sacrificing my son, but I’m still not okay with...

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L’Shana Tova

Rosh Hashanah was wonderful. My sister and I went to Olney Kehillah, Holly Taya Shere’s congregation, for morning services and then had an incredible group of about 25 people for evening service at Moon Meadow Acre. The connections between some of the people were really surprising. It turned out that Holly knew one of the members of Becoming and a friend she brought with her. Hebrew Crunk! Next year we go hip hop for Rosh Hashanah — hmmm….I wonder…. But seriously, the response to the evening service just left me feeling so energized and positive about all the work I’m doing. It’s not that I have doubts, well I do but not serious ones, but getting to share a Rosh Hashanah experience that is true for me and have others say, “yes — we feel this too.” Damn. It’s just an incredible sensation. I’m in talks with Holly to do a Shabbat morning sing-a-long featuring her chants and beyond that I’m actually considering a monthly Shabbat morning service, maybe at Rock Creek Park. Part of the inspiration, besides the obvious, was a conversation with my sister yesterday. Part of the point of coming together as a community, she observed, is a common framework. It’s that sensation of history and common bonds through everyone knowing the same songs and prayers. It’s what’s really hard about going to a new synagogue or religious group. Until you understand their language of community you feel like an outsider. That’s why I want to do things like the Shabbat sing-a-long or Shabbat morning services. The more people who know the music the more “at home” they’ll feel on the high holidays or any other ritual. [tags]rosh hashanah, purpose, mission, names,...

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L’Shanah Tovah!

A little blog bling courtesy of the amazing Avielah Barclay and ChaiSpace. [tags]soferet, blogs, l’shanah tovah, bling,...

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