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Let's Get Ready

09/07/2017 09:00:51 AM


Rabbi Sam Shabman

At Temple Sinai we are in full High Holy Day mode. Tickets are in the mail, brochures are at the printing press, the clergy are writing their sermons, the choir is in rehearsal, and we are getting ready for it all!

I opened up my Rosh Hashanah Machzor this morning, and flipped to a page. I was struck by the prayer I landed on: "A Prayer for Righteous Anger."

Often, we get the most out of any experience when we are prepared. When we train for a race or study for an exam, the experience is usually richer and more fruitful when we are ready. The same goes for the High Holidays, when we make our plans and set our intentions before the days actually start.

For the past few years, I used the High Holidays as a time to think about how I could be a better friend and family member, and improve myself on a very personal level. This year however, I want my reflection and prayer experience to be much broader. I want to dream of ways in which I personally, and us as a community can actively pursue justice.

I share with you the poem, that jolted me, and redefined my own personal vision for the Holy Days of 5778:

Misery for breakfast;

morning coffee with the news of distant deaths --

because someone's always suffering,

and there's bound to be a crisis raging somewhere,

or a quieter catastrophe

barely at the threshold of our notice.

We're accustomed to the feeling of something going wrong.

Like static in the background, tuned out so we can get on with our day.

And it's just the same as yesterday and nothing can be done;

so there's not much point in getting too upset.

But if something were to shock us

like a baby's piercing wail or a fire bell in the night,

like a punch in the stomach

or a puncture in the eardrum,

like a savage call to conscience or a frantic cry for help --

would we scream like a shofar and get mad enough to act?

When a ram's horn is sounded in a city do the people not take alarm?

This Shabbat, and next Shabbat we will be sounding shofar as community at services. The sounding of the shofar is a call to prepare us. I invite you start thinking, and preparing. What do you want the Yamim Noarim to mean to you this year? And what will you do to prepare? Your Temple Sinai clergy and family are here to support you in anyway that we can, as we embark on this journey together. Please click here for Temple Sinai's High Holy Day information.

In addition, in order to fulfill my goal of pursuing Social Justice I will start JOIN for Justice's Clergy Fellowship in November. JOIN also has an amazing opportunity for YOU, to take a seven-week online course this Fall in community organizing called Don't Kvetch, Organize!The course will be taught by experienced teachers and trainers including  Robert Putnam, Ruth Messinger and Rabbi Jonah Pesner. You can learn all about it here. The deadline to register is September 15th! I hope you'll check it out and register today! For more information please reach out to

L’shanah Tovah and Shabbat Shalom,

Rabbi Sam Shabman

Mon, July 13 2020 21 Tammuz 5780