Today is July 4, 2022 /
High Holiday Services at First Hebrew
Our High Holiday services are a mix of the traditional and the innovative, which are always eagerly anticipated by our members. As with all our services, they are completely egalitarian.
Highlights of the High Holiday season include Taschlich, the casting away of one’s sins into a body of water. We traditionally have services on Erev Rosh Hashanah, then the morning services for both the first and second day. For several years, we have had a lovely solo cello rendition of Kol Nidre before the start of that service. We have traditionally concluded Yom Kippur at Ne’ilah with the tradition of allowing our congregation to pass before the open Ark for a few moments of contemplation. Pre-pandemic, we have had a wonderful community Break Fast at the conclusion of Yom Kippur for several years. The fall holidays conclude with the joyous festivals of Sukkot and Simchat Torah. Services have been led by Rabbi Dana and a guest Hazzan. Sisterhood prepares the annual Book of Remembrance which is used for Yizkor at Yom Kippur and indeed throughout the year.
For 2021/5782 we again used a hybrid model of services allowing those who wished to be present in the sanctuary and services going out virtually to the rest of the community. We distributed copies of our Mahzor, the High Holiday prayer book, as well as small gifts to the congregation before the holidays. Our health protocols for 2021 required those attending in person to wear masks and to provide proof of vaccination in advance, along with preregistration for services.
Things to know about Tashlich:
Tashlich is a ceremony in which we make concrete the symbolic casting away of our sins at the start of the New Year and before Yom Kippur.
Traditionally, Tashlich is performed on the first day of Rosh Hashanah. If that day is Shabbat or if there is inclement weather, one may perform it on the second day or on another day up to Yom Kippur. Historically, bread crumbs have been used to represent our sins being cast away. More environmentally friendly options include water-soluble paper or small pebbles. The preferred order for the bodies of water for Tashlich are 1) the sea, 2) a river, 3) a lake, spring or fountain. The water should be a natural body of water, preferably one which flows into a larger body of water and has fish in it.
During this season of repentance, we are called upon to do Teshuvah, to return to God in sincerity and in truth. Through prayer and study, reflection and ritual, we strive to begin the new year in a spirit of humility, self-scrutiny, and spiritual renewal.
Today we come to this body of water to perform the Tashlich ceremony, seeking symbolically to “cast away” our accumulated sins and transgressions, to send away our unworthy thoughts, so that we may purify our hearts and souls, as the new year begins.
Cast away from yourselves all your transgressions,
And create within yourselves a new heart and a new spirit.
Avinu mal-keynu, choney-nu- va-aneynu,
ki eyn banu ma-asim
Asey imanu tz’dakah va-chesed v’ho-shi-eynu.
Avinu mal-keynu, graciously answer us,
Although we are without merits;
Deal with us charitably and lovingly save us.
In my distress I cried out to the Lord;
God answered me and set me free.
Who is like you, O God, forgiving iniquity and pardoning the
transgression of the remnant of Your people!
You do not retain Your anger forever, for You delight in lovingkindness.
You will again have compassion upon us, subdue our iniquities,
and cast all our sins into the depths of the sea.
You will show faithfulness to Jacob and lovingkindness to Abraham,
as You promised our ancestors from days of old.
They shall not hurt nor destroy in all My holy mountain;
For the earth shall be full of the love of the Lord
As the sea is full of the waters that cover it.
Psalms 118:5; Micah 7:18-20; Isaiah 11:9
Let Us Cast Away
Let us cast away the sin of deception, so that we will mislead no one in word or deed, nor pretend to be what we are not.
Let us cast away the sin of vain ambition which prompts us to strive for goals which bring neither true fulfillment nor genuine contentment.
Let us cast away the sin of stubbornness, so that we will neither persist in foolish habits nor fail to acknowledge our will to change.
Let us cast away the sin of envy, so that we will neither be consumed by desire for what we lack nor grow unmindful of the blessings which are already ours.
Let us cast away the sin of selfishness, which keeps us from enriching our lives through wider concerns, and greater sharing, and from reaching out in love to other human beings.
Let us cast away the sin of indifference, so that we may be sensitive to the sufferings of others and responsive to the needs of our people everywhere.
Let us cast away the sin of pride and arrogance, so that we can worship God and serve God’s purposes in humility and truth.
Ha-shiveynu Adonai eylecha v’na shuva,
Chadeysh yameynu k’kedem.
Turn us to You, O Lord, and we shall return;
Renew us as in days of old.
(Toss your symbolic sins into the water at this time).
The Thirteen Attributes
Adonai Adonai Eyl rachum v’chanun,
erech apa-yim v’rav chesed ve-emet.
No-tzeyr chesed la-alafim,
nosey avon va-fe-sha v’chata-a v’nakey.
The Lord is ever-present, all-merciful, gracious, compassionate, patient, abounding
In kindness and faithfulness, treasuring up love for a thousand generations, forgiving
Iniquity, transgression, and sin, and pardoning the penitent.
Sing Forth to the Lord
Sing forth to the Lord, O righteous;
Joyously sing to God a new song.
God loves what is right and just;
The earth is full of the Lord’s faithful care.
For God spoke and the world was;
God commanded and it endured.
Happy is the people whose God is the Lord,
The people God has chosen to be God’s own.
God fashions the heart of all;
God discerns all their doings.
We set our hope on the Lord,
God is our help and shield.
In God our hearts rejoice,
For in God’s holy name we trust.
May we enjoy, O Lord, Your faithful care,
As we have put our hope in You.
Selected from Psalm 33
Adapted from Machzor Hadash