2019 High Holidays


Saturday, September 21 – Selichot
8 PM – Havdalah
8:15 PM – Program with Professor Louis Newman
9:30 PM – Service

Sunday, September 29 – Erev Rosh HaShanah
7 PM – Service
Oneg sponsored by Board to follow service – join us to wish one another Happy New Year

Monday, September 30 – Rosh HaShanah
9:30 AM – Service and Children’s Enrichment Program**
5 PM – Tashlich service and picnic dinner, 5 p.m. at Jacobson Park shelter #1

Sunday, October 6 – 1 PM Memorial Service at Lexington Cemetery

Tuesday, October 8 – Kol Nidre
7 PM – Service

Wednesday, October 9 – Yom Kippur
9:30 AM – Service and Children’s Enrichment Program
1 PM – Study Sessions
3 PM–Afternoon Service
4:45 PM–Yizkor Service
5:30 PM–Ne’ilah
Break-the-fast following services

Sunday, October 13 – Erev Sukkot
6 PM Pizza in the Hut followed by brief service

Monday, October 14 – Sukkot at Ohavay Zion Synagogue
9:30 AM – Service

Monday, October 21 – Shemini Atzeret at Ohavay Zion Synagogue
9:30 AM – Service
11:30 AM – Yizkor

Tuesday, October 22 – Simchat Torah
7 PM – Service

*Because there will be only one evening and one morning service for Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur, parking may take more time than in previous years. So, please allow sufficient time.

**The Child Enrichment Program for children ages 4 to 7 will be offered during the Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur Morning Services.  Children will be working on holiday projects during the services, but will return to the sanctuary to experience the Shofar Service.

That’s What I’m Talking About:
Sermon Topics, Request for Background Reading, and High Holy Day “Cram Sessions”

During this year that celebrates the restoration of our Torah scrolls we should seize the opportunity to renew our passion for Torah study. 

In keeping with that goal as we approach this year’s High Holy Days, I’d like to share the main themes of my sermons with you in advance and make an unusual request. I’m asking you to please devote some time to background reading. Preparing yourself as a well-read listener will help me to be a more effective preacher. Each sermon you will hear will make frequent mention of biblical passages, High Holy Day prayers, and other texts. I probably invest one hour of writing for every one minute of preaching you’ll hear. This is not to be understood as a complaint or a boast. It is my commitment to my craft and what you have every right to expect of me as your rabbi. By dedicating some time to background reading your experience as a listener will be that much more rewarding. The readings will be available on our website, the library and main office, although you might well have them already at home. If you want to study these texts in person with others rather than on your own there will be two opportunities to do so. On the Saturdays of September 28 and October 5 the Shabbat morning hours of 9:00 AM—12:00, usually reserved for Kollel, Jewish Texts, and study of the portion of the week will instead be dedicated to exploring the biblical and secular sources below. The first session will be focused on reading for Rosh Ha’Shana and the second of those for Yom Kippur. Consider this your opportunity, to borrow the college term, to “cram” for the High Holy Days with fellow Temple Members and avid readers like yourself. 

Erev Rosh Ha’Shana 
A Tale of Two Traumas: Pittsburgh and Poway–The Binding of Isaac and The Theft of The Blessing of The First Born
For this sermon to really work, I’ll need you to review Genesis 22:1-19 and Genesis 27:1—38. Reading the two passages along side each other will make it easier to understand how the events of the first inform those of the second. Comparing and contrasting how Isaac is treated by Abraham, his father, and Jacob, his son, will help in understanding how we should honor the memory of last year’s anti-Semitic violence while remaining a strong and resilient community.



Rosh Ha’Shana Morning 
Consider the Consequences: Examining How Torah Depicts the Environmental Impact of Evil
In light of mounting debate about the role of climate change, deforestation, sea rise and the contamination of air and water, this sermon will wrestle with how God uses the earth to punish human disregard for Divine instructions and expectations. Please read the taking of “The Forbidden Fruit”: Genesis 3; Cain and Abel: Genesis 4:1—16; and Noah’s Ark/The Great Flood: Genesis 6:11—9:17. 




Kol Nidre
“But You Promised”: Reflections on Promises Kept, Broken and Unfulfilled 
Beginning with the prayer for which this service is named, we will be looking at the role that promises, making and breaking them, has on both a personal and societal level. As 2019 marks the 400th anniversary of the first African slaves being brought to America, we will also be looking at the Declaration of Independence, Dr. King’s address at the March of Washington/“I Have a Dream,” and Deuteronomy 29:9-14; 30:11—20, the Torah reading for Yom Kippur morning.





Yom Kippur Morning
Perfect: Practical and Theological Risks of Asking Too Much
Is perfectionism an admirable quality or an irrational expectation? How good does Judaism expect us to be and how can we reconcile worthy goals with painful realities? The allegorical Book of Job presents an extreme scenario of what happens when perfect harmony is violently turned into utter catastrophe. Can love and loyalty survive when goodness and faithfulness is no longer rewarded with peace and prosperity? Please read Job chapters 1-3 and 29—31. 



Let me acknowledge that this is neither light reading or an easy lift. Sermons ought to be intelligible to anyone, but if you take the time to study these texts in advance these High Holy Day messages will be easier to follow and more meaningful to reflect upon. Please let me know if you need assistance finding the texts or if you have questions that arise from reading them. 

Wishing You and Your Family a Good and Sweet New Year,

Rabbi David Wirtschafter