Rosh Hashanah Message from Rabbi Knopf
Shalom Friends! So, finally the High Holidays have arrived! Who would have thought when we first went into lockdown all those months ago that we would still be facing so many challenges by Rosh Hashanah? Nevertheless, with a great deal of planning and organization, we are excited to see many of you at our High Holiday services. It has been inspiring to work with so many people showing so much dedication to Beth Ora to ensure that we can provide the very best High Holiday experience while carefully observing all necessary safety precautions. The office staff, Mireille Alvo, Debbie Pinsky and Aliza Perez have worked tirelessly through this period to ensure that everything is in place. The special arrangements for Shabbat and holiday services have involved a lot of hard work for Andras Nagy and we are so grateful to him for his dedication. We are also blessed to be led by such devoted lay leaders, many of whom have given countless hours to the running of the synagogue. In addition to our wonderful president, Polly Storozum, I would like to thank Gerry Abish who has gone beyond his usual role as head of the seating committee to dealing with all kinds of matters relating to the running of services in this challenging time. For those of you who will not be joining us for services this year, please consider taking advantage of the many opportunities offered by Congregation Beth Ora for engagement in the holidays and community activity outside of synagogue services. Here are the ways you can take advantage of what we are offering:
Join us this evening at 6:50 PM on Zoom for Mincha and Maariv, including the opportunity to hear the blowing of the shofar. Click here.
Join us on Thursday evening at 8:00 PM for a special event featuring Rabbi Heshy Benshimon singing some of our favourite High Holiday tunes, followed by a community L’Chaim! Click here.
Print off our special Rosh Hashanah Guide (click here) in which we provide a lot of material to read over the holiday.
If you have young children, please join us in the park opposite Beth Ora for lunch, a story and shofar blowing on Sunday, September 20th (2nd day Rosh Hashanah) at 1:00 PM (weather permitting). Please bring your own lunch and picnic blanket.
Everyone is invited to join us in the park opposite Beth Ora on Sunday, September 20th at 4:00 PM for shofar blowing and Tashlich.
This recent period has been a very busy one at Beth Ora with a wonderful Selichot service led by Rabbi Heshy last Saturday night and a fascinating event on Sunday featuring two friends – an Israeli settler and a Palestinian! We hope that many of you will take advantage of the opportunities we present for you to engage with the beautiful holidays and our wonderful community. For those who will be joining us for services, please note that we expect Shofar blowing on Sunday to be at 10:15 AM, and for services on Saturday and Sunday to end at about 11:30 AM. On a personal level, I know that this is a difficult time for many of you and that most of us will be restricted from celebrating the holidays in the ways we are used to. If there is anything we can do to assist you or if you would like to talk about anything, please don’t hesitate to give me a call on 514-714-6559. A Short Message to Those Who Will Be Joining Us in Synagogue Over the Holidays Many of you will be excited to return to the Sanctuary which holds so many memories and has such a special place in your hearts. Many members have told me that they consider Beth Ora like their home and we want you to keep and treasure that feeling. As important as it is to feel at home in synagogue, we need to be cognizant of an additional responsibility: to ensure that every Jew who wants to come to synagogue feels safe doing so. Each of us has had to make decisions for ourselves as to how careful we are going to be regarding avoiding the virus. But in synagogue, regardless of our own personal preferences – we are as strict as we possibly can be. To put it simply, it’s not about you feeling at home in synagogue, it’s about creating the atmosphere in which everyone can feel safe in synagogue. I have often had occasion to emphasize the importance that Judaism ascribes to preserving life. As we move into High Holidays and continue with our other services, we also need to concentrate on ensuring that our services are so safe that no one who wants to attend is made to feel that it is not safe enough. So please, let’s remember as we head into a Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur unlike any we have ever experienced that far more important than your right to feel ‘at home’ in synagogue, is everyone else’s right to feel that they have a place there as well. Please see below this letter for useful information about the observance of Rosh Hashanah. We pray that Hashem should grant us, our families, our community, the Jewish People, and all worthy humanity a year of health and blessings, Rabbi Anthony Knopf
Please see our Rosh Hashanah Guide (click here) for guidance of observing the holidays. More detailed guidance is included below. Friday, September 18th
Candle lighting is at 6:40 PM. The blessing should conclude “lehadlik ner shel Yom Tov”.
An abridged Kaballat Shabbat service is recited that begins with “Mizmor Shir Leyom HaShabbat.” Bameh Madlikin is omitted. Both Veshamru and Tik’u bechodesh shofar are recited before the Amidah. Remember the insertions for Shabbat in the Maariv Amidah, along with the insertions into the Amidah that are recited throughout the period from Rosh Hashanah to Yom Kippur. Vayechulu is recited after the Amidah (omitting the blessing “Magen Avot”) followed by Mizmor LeDavid and Aleinu.
The Kiddush recited is for Rosh Hashanah with insertions for Shabbat. Kiddush begins with Yom Hashishi. Shehechiyanu is recited.
Saturday, September 19th
Those who are davening without a minyan are encouraged to study and recite the poems that are added to the Chazzan’s repetition of the Amidah, particularly Unetane Tokef.
The Mincha Amidah for Rosh Hashanah is said with the proper insertions for Shabbat. Mincha should be prayed before 6:56 PM (sunset).
Preparations for the second day of Rosh Hashanah should not begin until 7:40 PM (nightfall). Candle lighting must be performed after 7:40 PM.
Maariv for Rosh Hashanah includes the “vetodi’einu” passage for Saturday evenings.
Kiddush includes the blessings “me’orei ha’eish,” Havdallah and Shehechiyanu. It’s best to have a new fruit on the table before Kiddush and to eat it after Kiddush.
Sunday, September 20th
Those who are praying without a minyan are encouraged to study and recite the poems that are added to the Chazzan’s repetition of the Amidah, particularly “Unetane Tokef.”
Mincha should be prayed before 6:54 PM (sunset).
Traditionally, Tashlich is recited on this afternoon next to a body of water. If this is not possible, it can be recited any time until Yom Kippur, or even the sixth day of Sukkot.
The weekday Amidah is recited at the end of Rosh Hashanah. “Ata Chonantanu” is included, along with special insertions for the period between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur.
Havdallah at the end of Rosh Hashanah consists of two blessings – HaGafen and HaMavdil. Spices and candle are not used for this havdallah.