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Be Present for our Community

10/03/2019 08:03:01 AM


Rabbi Sam Trief

As a 10th grade confirmation student, there was a moment in class that struck me each week...and that was roll call. When  Rabbi Rick Jacobs took attendance in class, he taught us that the best response was not: “here” or “yes”, but rather,  “hineini.”  The Biblical expression hineni translates to: “here I am.”  Over the years, the expression hineini  has come to mean that we should strive to be fully present, and show up as our best selves. 

When God called out to Moses from the burning bush, Moses replied, “hineini!” And when God asked Abraham to offer his son Issac as a sacrifice, Abraham responded: “hineni!” In our most cherished Biblical tales,  Abraham and Moses used this word to illustrate  how fully committed and devoted they were to serving God. 
The concept of Hineini has become so central to Jewish thought, that the  Hin’ni Prayer  we recite on Erev Rosh Hashanah has become a central part of our High Holiday liturgy. This prayer is an admission of inadequacy and self-doubt, but a promise to try our best. In this prayer, we ask that God, and those around us accept us as we are, and trust that we are embodying the best version of ourselves. 

This all brings me to the Hineini Committee at Temple Sinai. This committee’s mandate is to be present for every member of our community, and to make sure that at Temple Sinai is accessible to everyone. You can learn more about the committee’s latest project here:

In addition, this Sunday, the Hineini Committee  will host a sacred and special  service at  Zaban Tower. Recognizing that the High Holidays can be an overwhelming experience for some, we want to create an environment where everyone can bring their full and best selves to worship. This service is specifically created for those living with cognitive or memory issues.  If this service seems like a good fit for you or a loved one, we hope you will join us Sunday, October 6 at 2:30 pm at the  Jewish Home Chapel at Zaban Tower- 3156 Howell Mill Rd, Atlanta 30327. Please register here. As we approach Yom Kippur, may we reflect upon the ways in which we can say: “Hineini, here I am.”  

Shabbat Shalom and G’mar Hatimah Tovah.

Sat, July 4 2020 12 Tammuz 5780