Nights are getting cooler, the cicadas are whirring faster and louder to a crescendo, the red maples are all aflame, backpacks are bursting with books, big yellow buses are popping up everywhere with their stop lights flashing, and gusts of autumn wind are picking up swirls of newly fallen leaves. The old year is falling away and decomposing into fertile soil for the new seeds of 5775! Yes, “The Days of Awe” are coming … Or as I like to call them “The Days of Awesomeness!” If you close your eyes you can almost hear the shofar crying, “Wake up! It’s time to come home!” On the new moon of Rosh Hashanah we will gather at Torat Yisrael to renew and re-Jew! Late in the afternoon of the second day ...
we will meet at Goddard Park for Tashlich, Shabbat songs, and a potluck picnic. While the trees shed their dead leaves to prepare for next year’s growth, we will tashlich and cast our old stale crumbs into the sea. On Yom Kippur we will complete this process of purification by fasting and praying on the most awesome of days. I invite you to try something powerful and new this year at our Yom Kippur Ne’ilah service. While the sun is setting, the gates of prayer are closing, and the cantor is wailing a haunting melody for the final Amidah, each family (or individual) will have an opportunity to ascend the bima and stand before the open ark to offer a few private words of prayer. Then, after many days of standing and praying
inside we will go outside under the full harvest moon of Sukkot. On Sunday October 12th at 12 PM my family invites you to our home Sukkah party complete with live music, campfire, veggie potluck, and smores!
This summer, I have enjoyed getting to know many of you at parlor meetings and one-on-ones. I have heard loud and clear that what this community needs most is for young and old to come together as one multigenerational family. Although this may feel like an impossible task, I am happy to say that I have seen many glimmers of hope. Both Beach Shabbats and our first Shabbat on the Trail provided a natural setting for young and old to share Judaism together through food, music, and nature. Of course, this is just the beginning. On September 7th at 12 PM there will be a Men’s Club barbeque for congregants of all ages to celebrate the first day of our Cohen Religious School. Starting November 7th at 6 PM, on the first Fridays of each month our newly formed TY Band will lead all ages in a ruach-filled musical Kabbalat Shabbat service followed by a delicious family style Shabbat dinner. I look forward to meeting all of you and hearing your voices at these events. As the new year rolls in, we at Torat Yisrael can truly expect to have a shanah tovah u’metukah, a year that is filled with sweet goodness.
Blessings and Shalom,
Rabbi Aaron Philmus
Rabbi Aaron Philmus
Rabbi Aaron brings a traditional style and approach of prayer to the conservative synagogue. He has a background in ecology and Jewish education and teaches Torah through agriculture and wilderness skills, and plays guitar as a way to bring music to the synagogue. He’s a naturalist who believes that everything stems from nature, and he understands the plight of others who are less fortunate, and how to use the land to enrich ourselves.