Monthly Archives: August 2018

Shavua tov! Looking forward to Shabbat Ki Tavo

Shavua tov — a good new week to you.

Please join us on Friday at 5:30pm for Sing Your Way Into Shabbat with Rabbi Pam, and Saturday at 9:30am for Shabbat morning services led by Rabbi Rachel. This week we’re reading from parashat Ki Tavo.

Please join us also on Sunday at 2pm for our annual cemetery service in the CBI cemetery in Clarksburg.

If you’d like to read some commentaries on this week’s Torah portion, here are a few:

And here are commentaries from the URJ:

We’ve entered into the month of Elul, the month that leads us to the Days of Awe. It’s traditional to pray the words of Psalm 27 during this month. (There are links to several different versions in this post.) At Shabbat services this month and during the Days of Awe we’ll be singing a new setting of verse 13 of that psalm, which you can listen to here:

(If you can’t see the embedded audio player, you can go directly to the mp3 file here, and you can find sheet music and read more about the setting and the psalm here.)

Blessings to all —

Rabbi Rachel

Contemplative Meditation – a guest post from Steven Green

Morning! Last year between Selichot and Yom Kippur I did a spiritual practice that I would like to share with you.

As you know, Rose and I have been sharing a contemplative practice on Yom Kippor afternoon. Last year as I was preparing, I realized that between Selichot and Yom Kippur was about 13 days. During HHD we recite the “13 Attributes” many times. I started contemplating each attribute, one per day, until YK. By the time we began chanting the 13 Attributes in our service I had become intimately familiar with all of them. This made that part of the service much more meaningful.

I will be doing that practice again this year and invite you to join me!

Below you will find part of the handout we used last year in our YK practice with an explanation of how to do a contemplation. You will also find the English translation of the 13 Attributes. Please note: This year it is 15 days from Selichot to Rosh HaShana which, coincidentally, in Hebrew is spelled such that it is a name of G!D: Yah. This can be an auspicious practice this year!

If you intend to take up this practice, let me know. If you have any questions on the mechanics of how one might conduct a contemplative practice please do not hesitate to contact me – I would welcome the opportunity to work with you on this.

Shana Tova,

Steven

Instructions for Contemplative Meditation 

  1. Calm the mind by resting on the breathing.
  2. When you feel ready, bring up a certain thought or intention in the form of words.
  3. Use these words as the object of meditation, continually returning to them as distractions arise.
  4. In order to help rouse the heartfelt experience of their meaning, think about the words. Bring ideas and images to mind to inspire the meaning.
  5. As the meaning of the words begins to penetrate, let the words drop away, and rest in that.
  6. Become familiar with that meaning as it penetrates.
  7. Conclude your session and arise from meditation with the meaning in your heart. “Meaning” is direct experience, free of words.
  8. Now enter the world aspiring to conduct yourself with the view of your contemplation. For example, if you have been contemplating the preciousness of human birth, your view will be one of appreciation.

From, Turning Your Mind Into An Ally, Sakyong Mipham

 

FOR CONTEMPLATION

 

The Thirteen Attributes

Adonai, Adonai, G!D of mercy and grace, patient, loving and faithful, Who extends love to the thousandth generation, forgiving transgression, rebellion and sin, and granting pardon.

 

CBI Calendar for the Days of Awe 5779

Havdalah & Selichot (“Forgiveness“) service, Sat. August 25, 8-9pm

    (potluck dessert reception to follow)

Cemetery Service , Walker Street, Sun. Sept. 2, 2-2:30pm

 

Rosh Hashanah

Rosh Hashanah First Evening service, Sun. September 9, 7:30-9pm

Rosh Hashanah First Day morning service, Mon. September 10, 9:30am-12:30pm

Children’s service, 10am (childcare all morning)

      Tashlich (casting bread upon the waters) to follow

       Rosh Hashanah Lunch to follow  (the Orchards) please RSVP by 9/5. ($18)

Renewing Second Day morning service, Tues. September 11, 9:30am-12pm

 

Yom Kippur

Kol Nidre (with childcare) Tues. Sept. 18, 6:30pm (arrive at 6:00 for music to open the heart)

Yom Kippur Morning service, Weds. September 19, 9:30am-12:30pm

Children’s service, 10am (childcare all morning)

Yizkor /Memorial Service will take place at the end of the morning service

Contemplative Practice with Steven Green and Rose Ellis, 3-4pm

Yom Kippur Afternoon service, 4-5:30pm

Yom Kippur Ne’ilah service, 6:30pm (sundown: 6:47pm)

       Yom Kippur Break-The-Fast: after services. Please RSVP by Sept. 7. ($20; kids $7)

Sukkot

Sukkot / Shabbat Potluck, Fri. Sept. 28, 5:30pm. Please RSVP by Sept. 24.

Shemini Atzeret services with Yizkor, Mon. Oct. 1, 11am-12pm

 

cbiweb.org, http://www.facebook.com/CBINorthAdams, 413-663-5830

Congregation Beth Israel: 53 Lois Street, North Adams MA 01247

NO TICKETS FOR ANY SERVICES – all are welcome.

 

Here’s this schedule as a one-page downloadable PDF:  Days of Awe 2018 [pdf]

Music for the season

Dear Congregation Beth Israel members and friends,

Music is one of the doors to the heart. The service known as Selichot (“Pardons”) is our first opportunity to immerse in high holiday music each year. Here are some of the melodies you’ll hear at CBI at Selichot (this Saturday night, August 25, at 8pm!)

Lulei He’emanti (Psalm 27:13)

(If you can’t see the embedded audio player, you can go directly to the mp3 here.) Melody by Rabbi David Markus.

The Thirteen Attributes

Melody source unknown; text from Torah. When we sing it here, we also often sing an English translation that fits to the same melody.

Ki Anu Amecha – For We Are Your People

The melody is “traditional” (source unknown). When we sing it here, we sometimes sing an English translation that fits to the same melody.

Return Again

Recorded by Neshama Carlebach; melody by her father.

Adon HaSelichot – Master of Pardons

“Traditional” Israeli melody. I first learned it at the Brookline Havurah Minyan, probably 20 years ago.

Achat Sha’alti – One Thing I Ask

Melody by I. Katz. When we sing this here, we also often sing an English translation that fits to the same melody.

If you’d like to listen to more high holiday music, either to familiarize yourself with the melodies and words or just to “get in the mood,” I highly recommend Tekiah from B’nei Jeshurun in New York City — at that link you can stream many of the songs of the high holiday liturgy, performed by their hazzan, musicians, and choir, and you can pick up a copy of the CD if you are so inclined. (We use many of the same melodies that they do.)

I hope to post again as the Days of Awe draw nearer with links to some of the other melodies we’ll be using here over the holidays.

May listening to (and singing!) these melodies prepare our hearts to open as we approach this most awesome and powerful time of year.

Wishing you blessings as we move deeper into Elul —

Rabbi Rachel

Shavua tov! Looking forward to Shabbat Ki Tetzei – and to Selichot!

Shavua tov — a good new week to you.

Please join us on Saturday at 9:30am for Shabbat services led by Rabbi Pam Wax. This week we’re reading from parashat Ki Tetzei.

And please join us on Saturday at 8pm for Selichot, the service that launches us into the high holiday season. We’ll experience our first tastes of high holiday music for this year (both the nusach, the melody-system, that’s only used during the Days of Awe — and some of our most familiar and beloved high holiday “tunes”). We’ll also have an opportunity to engage in a contemplative writing practice that will attune us to the things we need to work on this year. Afterwards stick around for a potluck dessert reception hosted by the Spiritual Life committee (and please bring a dessert to share if you can.)

If you’d like to read some commentaries on this week’s Torah portion, here are a few:

And here are commentaries from the URJ:

We’ve entered into the month of Elul, the month that leads us to the Days of Awe. It’s traditional to pray the words of Psalm 27 during this month. (There are links to several different versions in this post.) At Shabbat services this month and during the Days of Awe we’ll be singing a new setting of verse 13 of that psalm, which you can listen to here:

(If you can’t see the embedded audio player, you can go directly to the mp3 file here, and you can find sheet music and read more about the setting and the psalm here.)

Blessings to all —

Rabbi Rachel

Pursue

Run after justice
the way an eight-year-old
runs after the ice cream truck
chasing its elusive music

sandals slapping asphalt
until panting, calves burning
you catch it
and taste sweetness.

Run after justice
with the single-minded focus
a thirteen-year-old
brings to their phone.

Run after justice
the way the mother
of a colicky newborn
pursues sleep.

Run after justice
whole-hearted and open, as though
justice were your beloved
who makes your heart race,

whose integrity shines
like the light of the sun,
who makes you want to be
better than you are.

 


Run after justice. See Deuteronomy 16:20.

[W]hole-hearted. See Deuteronomy 18:13.

Shabbat shalom to all who celebrate.

 

Rabbi Rachel offered this poem at CBI this morning to close our Torah discussion. (Cross-posted to Velveteen Rabbi.)

A shift in our Mi Sheberach (Healing List) practices

misheberachDear Congregation Beth Israel members and friends,

At every Shabbat service we hear the names of those on our congregational Mi Sheberach list.  Mi Sheberach is Hebrew for “The One Who Blesses,” and is the name of our prayer for healing. (If you’d like to learn more, here’s a page about the Mi Sheberach at the URJ website, though at CBI we recite a slightly different variation.)

After consultation with colleagues, with the Spiritual Life committee, and with the Executive Committee of the CBI Board, I’m writing today to tell you that we are going to shift how we solicit names for the Mi Sheberach list in the new Jewish year.

Each month we will share the existing Mi Sheberach list in our newsletter, and will solicit names for the next month’s Mi Sheberach list. If you are sending your own name, we receive it gratefully. If you are sending someone else’s name, please check with them to make sure they’re comfortable having their name listed.

You are welcome to send an “English” name or a “Jewish” (Hebrew or Yiddish) name, whatever you prefer. CBI will keep Healing List names for a month, subject to renewal. In case of a request for confidentiality, the name will come to me but will not be publicly shared on the Healing List.

When you receive our monthly newsletter, please read the Mi Sheberach list and let us know if you want to renew a name for the coming month. (If you do not receive our monthly newsletter via email, please let the office know and we’ll make sure your email address is on our newsletter distribution list.)

My hope and my prayer is that this new way of managing the Mi Sheberach list will serve both to raise community consciousness around who in our community is need of care, and also to ensure that our Healing List is meaningful and up-to-date each month.

May the Source of Healing bring healing to all who are ill, speedily and soon.

Blessings,

Rabbi Rachel