Rosh HashanahThe Jewish New Year, also considered the Day of Judgment. The period of the High Holidays is a time of introspection and atonement. The holiday is celebrated with the sounding of the shofar, lengthy prayers in synagogue, the eating of apples and honey, and round challah for a sweet and whole year. Tashlikh, casting bread on the water to symbolize the washing away of sins, also takes place on Rosh Hashana., the Jewish new year, is the first of the High Holy Days or Yamim Noraim (Days of Awe). It weds seriousness with celebration and begins the 10 days of repentance that culminate in Yom KippurThe holiest day of the Jewish year and the culmination of a season of self-reflection. Jews fast, abstain from other worldly pleasures, and gather in prayers that last throughout the day. Following Ne’ilah, the final prayers, during which Jews envision the Gates of Repentance closing, the shofar is sounded in one long blast to conclude the holy day. It is customary to begin building one’s sukkah as soon as the day ends.. The new year focuses our attention on themes of judgment, repentance, memory, and the divine presence in the world. At the same time, Rosh Hashanah invites us to celebrate birth and creation on many levels. The liturgy suggests that Rosh Hashanah commemorates the creation of the world. Family-oriented services often include a birthday cake for the world—a big hit for kids of all ages! We dip apples in honey to emphasize the sweetness of starting the cycle of seasons once again, and eat round challotBraided egg bread eaten on Shabbat and holidays. Reminiscent of bread eaten by Priests in the Temple, of manna in the desert, and sustenance in general. Plural: Hallot to remind us of the cycles of life. The TorahThe Five Books of Moses, and the foundation of all of Jewish life and lore. The Torah is considered the heart and soul of the Jewish people, and study of the Torah is a high mitzvah. The Torah itself a scroll that is hand lettered on parchment, elaborately dressed and decorated, and stored in a decorative ark. It is chanted aloud on Mondays, Thursdays, and Shabbat, according to a yearly cycle. Sometimes “Torah” is used as a colloquial term for Jewish learning and narrative in general. and HaftarahThe portion of the books of the prophets read on Shabbat after the Torah reading. The two usually have parallel themes. readings for the holiday also address birth and the preciousness of all human life. These stories remind us that the arrival of every child—each and every one of us—is a promise for a renewed world. We renew ourselves at Rosh Hashanah in order to reconnect with this promise and to help ourselves fulfill it in the year ahead.
In this immersion, we will reflect and expand on our personal experiences of identity, using writing exercises and in-depth discussions to think about, challenge, discover, explore, and experiment with different ways to identify ourselves, to consider how those ways connect us to and separate us from others, and how they represent and misrepresent aspects of who we are.
Four sessions, starting June 15th
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