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            5782   New Year at the

       Kerhonkson Synagogue                  

               

       

                  

Dear Kerhonkson Synagogue Community and Friends,

 

It was so, so good to see your faces, both in person at our Erev service and Tashlikh and of course in the Zoom rooms on the first day of Rosh Hashanah.

And what an exciting Torah discussion followed the sermon — yasher Koach to all who showed up! 

Thank you all for making our services a full community experiences

 

Recordings from some of our RH services  will be made available on the Kerhonkson Synagogue Youtube channel.

 

Tomorrow is Shabbat Shuva, the shabbat squarely in the middle of the 10 days of Awe. It is during our time to make teshuva/repentance, "bein adam l’havero", a person and their friend/colleague/neighbor etc. To see our Sage Rabbi Moshe ben Maimonedes’ steps for teshuva see the detailed instructions below.

 

It is less than a week away to Yom Kippur, when it will be time to make teshuva “bein adam l’Makom”, between a person and Gd. 

And have an ambitious schedule of offerings for the 25 hours of that day.

 

A traditional synagogue service on Yom Kippur would have us saying the Vidui (confession) - ashamnu or al chet 8 times. 

Following that rubric, we offer 8 services; traditional, contemplative and participatory, in which we will look at some part of the all of the confessions.

The confessions were written for us not only to unburden our hearts and souls, they give us an opportunity to see how universal our missing the mark of our best intentions can be. That when we miss, it isn’t just us, oh no, to the contrary so many of us do that thing, because we are human.

 

Attached you will find the schedule of services for Yom Kippur. For those living nearby, there is an opportunity for candle making — following an Ashkenazi tradition of braiding candle wicks in honor of our ancestors that came before us. Interested in that session? 

PLEASE RSVP kerhonksonrabbi@gmail.com.

 

Please note that our last sessions; Jonah learning and Neilah will be in-person at the Rochester Town Park. and on Zoom.

We will do our best to improve the Zoom sound quality from our outdoor location.

 

With blessings for clear and compassionate reflection in the next days.

May we each be written for a year of goodness and joy,

Reb Sally

 

 

Sally Shore-Wittenberg

Spiritual Leader Kerhonkson Synagogue

 


“The miracle is to walk on the green Earth in the present moment, to appreciate the peace and beauty that are available now.”

Thich Nhat Hanh

6 Steps of Teshuvah (repentance)

 

Jewish tradition teaches that we need to engage in the process of teshuvah year-round. The High Holy Days are a reminder for those procrastinators among us to get moving on this life-fixing process. These 6 steps of teshuvah are distillation of the medieval rabbi Maimonides’ Laws of Repentance can help guide all of us as we do the work we need to do.

1. REGRET

No wrongdoing can be transformed until we first recognize the error of our ways. A private, deeply personal step, regret implies that we truly feel remorse for what we have done. One cannot begin to make teshuva by apologizing for an action if you do not really believe you were wrong. Such repentance, undertaken without a sense of regret, does not lead to true healing. Guilt can be helpful here. Guilt that sense of shame about our actions is connected to regret. Guilt can be good if it propels us forward on the path toward change.

2. RENOUNCE

To renounce our wrongdoings requires honest personal evaluation. We look into our hearts and souls and admit to ourselves that our actions were wrong. No excuses. No rationalizations. We cease to see the action as a necessary consequence of our personality. We distance ourselves, emotionally and intellectually, from the deed. Renouncing a sin does not mean that we deny that it happened or that we deny doing it. Rather, renunciation means that we reject any sense that we needed to act as we did.

3. CONFESS

Confession, acknowledges that saying something aloud to others makes it real. Speaking about our mistakes forces us to confront the consequences of our actions even as we come to terms with why performing them was so seductive. There are two levels to a confession: confessing to the victim and then confessing to those who know the victim or who know about the wrongdoing.

Confessing our wrongdoings begins with confessing to those we most directly wronged. Openly, honestly, and without holding back, we admit our wrongdoing, describe our regret, renounce our actions, apologize, and then steel ourselves for the onslaught of emotion to come. Only after this, does the sinner then confess to third parties, those touched by the wrongdoing, whether by their knowledge of the act or by their relationship to the victim. You may wonder why Judaism expects a sinner to effect first a private, face to face confession when we live in a world, which seems to encourage people to go first onto TV talk shows to confess publicly their sins? Jewish tradition declares that forgiveness only can be bestowed by the one wronged. As such, true repentance ensures that the one wronged hears the confession first. Moreover, such a confession is more poignant and believable. The repentant stands before the one harmed and prepares to take the blame.

4. RECONCILE

These first three steps address the sinner’s needs. Step four, reconcile, focuses on the one wronged. However commendable regret or confession may be, these alone do not heal someone who has been hurt or deceived. If teshuva is to be more than a simple way for the sinner to feel good again – if it is to become a tool for repairing souls, both the sinner’s and the victim’s – then it must transcend the realm of the emotion and conversation, and enter the tangible world of action.

To reconcile with the person wronged begins with sincere apology. It continues with a long term investment of our time and energy, as long as necessary, until the sinner and the person wronged are able to work through this problem. We may need to spend significant time talking. We may need to give the other person time alone and space. Be patient. You see, we quickly hurt others but it takes time to heal.

5. MAKE AMENDS

Making amends acknowledges that healing the pain we have caused needs to be achieved through mundane actions. We begin with financial compensation. We offer to pay, where appropriate, for therapy, spiritual counseling, or continued education for the one wronged. Then we may enroll ourselves in therapy, support groups or classes so that we may learn to identify and restrain the impulses, which led us to our sins. Volunteering a significant amount of your time to worthy causes is important. Reaching out to others is a powerful way to re energize your soul and to prove your commitment to change. And give tzedakah. While a donation of money cannot buy forgiveness, it can help others who were similarly hurt if the tzedakah is given to appropriate organizations.

6. RESOLVE

Teshuva will be shleima, complete, only if we resolve not to repeat the offense. Having recognized the wrongfulness of our actions, having apologized and reimbursed the injured party, we resolve to work diligently not to fall into the same behavior when the situation or opportunity arises again.

What about God? What’s God Got to Do With It?

It is ALL about God. Yom Kippur atones for sins between a person and God (when true teshuva has taken place). But Yom Kippur does not atone for sins between two people until they have made peace with each other. God can provide us with the courage and strength to become regretful and vulnerable enough to walk the path of teshuva. God can help us access the humility we need to forgive those who have hurt us. Recognizing Adonai Echad (that God is One) and that we are part of that Oneness can make it easier to return to that Oneness through teshuvah.

6 Steps of Teshuvah (repentance)

 

Jewish tradition teaches that we need to engage in the process of teshuvah year-round. The High Holy Days are a reminder for those procrastinators among us to get moving on this life-fixing process. These 6 steps of teshuvah are distillation of the medieval rabbi Maimonides’ Laws of Repentance can help guide all of us as we do the work we need to do.

1. REGRET

No wrongdoing can be transformed until we first recognize the error of our ways. A private, deeply personal step, regret implies that we truly feel remorse for what we have done. One cannot begin to make teshuva by apologizing for an action if you do not really believe you were wrong. Such repentance, undertaken without a sense of regret, does not lead to true healing. Guilt can be helpful here. Guilt that sense of shame about our actions is connected to regret. Guilt can be good if it propels us forward on the path toward change.

2. RENOUNCE

To renounce our wrongdoings requires honest personal evaluation. We look into our hearts and souls and admit to ourselves that our actions were wrong. No excuses. No rationalizations. We cease to see the action as a necessary consequence of our personality. We distance ourselves, emotionally and intellectually, from the deed. Renouncing a sin does not mean that we deny that it happened or that we deny doing it. Rather, renunciation means that we reject any sense that we needed to act as we did.

3. CONFESS

Confession, acknowledges that saying something aloud to others makes it real. Speaking about our mistakes forces us to confront the consequences of our actions even as we come to terms with why performing them was so seductive. There are two levels to a confession: confessing to the victim and then confessing to those who know the victim or who know about the wrongdoing.

Confessing our wrongdoings begins with confessing to those we most directly wronged. Openly, honestly, and without holding back, we admit our wrongdoing, describe our regret, renounce our actions, apologize, and then steel ourselves for the onslaught of emotion to come. Only after this, does the sinner then confess to third parties, those touched by the wrongdoing, whether by their knowledge of the act or by their relationship to the victim. You may wonder why Judaism expects a sinner to effect first a private, face to face confession when we live in a world, which seems to encourage people to go first onto TV talk shows to confess publicly their sins? Jewish tradition declares that forgiveness only can be bestowed by the one wronged. As such, true repentance ensures that the one wronged hears the confession first. Moreover, such a confession is more poignant and believable. The repentant stands before the one harmed and prepares to take the blame.

4. RECONCILE

These first three steps address the sinner’s needs. Step four, reconcile, focuses on the one wronged. However commendable regret or confession may be, these alone do not heal someone who has been hurt or deceived. If teshuva is to be more than a simple way for the sinner to feel good again – if it is to become a tool for repairing souls, both the sinner’s and the victim’s – then it must transcend the realm of the emotion and conversation, and enter the tangible world of action.

To reconcile with the person wronged begins with sincere apology. It continues with a long term investment of our time and energy, as long as necessary, until the sinner and the person wronged are able to work through this problem. We may need to spend significant time talking. We may need to give the other person time alone and space. Be patient. You see, we quickly hurt others but it takes time to heal.

5. MAKE AMENDS

Making amends acknowledges that healing the pain we have caused needs to be achieved through mundane actions. We begin with financial compensation. We offer to pay, where appropriate, for therapy, spiritual counseling, or continued education for the one wronged. Then we may enroll ourselves in therapy, support groups or classes so that we may learn to identify and restrain the impulses, which led us to our sins. Volunteering a significant amount of your time to worthy causes is important. Reaching out to others is a powerful way to re energize your soul and to prove your commitment to change. And give tzedakah. While a donation of money cannot buy forgiveness, it can help others who were similarly hurt if the tzedakah is given to appropriate organizations.

6. RESOLVE

Teshuva will be shleima, complete, only if we resolve not to repeat the offense. Having recognized the wrongfulness of our actions, having apologized and reimbursed the injured party, we resolve to work diligently not to fall into the same behavior when the situation or opportunity arises again.

What about God? What’s God Got to Do With It?

It is ALL about God. Yom Kippur atones for sins between a person and God (when true teshuva has taken place). But Yom Kippur does not atone for sins between two people until they have made peace with each other. God can provide us with the courage and strength to become regretful and vulnerable enough to walk the path of teshuva. God can help us access the humility we need to forgive those who have hurt us. Recognizing Adonai Echad (that God is One) and that we are part of that Oneness can make it easier to return to that Oneness through teshuvah.

                Kerhonkson Synagogue  26 Minnewaska Trail, Kerhonkson,                    Kerhonksonsynagogue.org