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Shabbat Shalom from Rabbi Arnow 9/8/2023 9

Dear Kol Rinah Family, 

Last night at the St. Louis Repertory Theater (at Webster University)  I saw The Lehman Trilogy, which won the 2022 Tony Award for Best Play.  

The play begins with three Jewish immigrants from Bavaria as they start a business in Montgomery, Alabama, and traces them and their descendants to New York as the company evolves, from the 1840s to 2008.  

The play itself is extraordinary.  The three actors, who together play over fifty roles, are magnificent.  And it's long--three hours and twenty minutes, including two fifteen-minute intermissions.  So you get your money's worth.  

You'll smile knowingly at the repeated choruses of "baruch hashem"s, at the intonation of the Mourner's Kaddish, at references to Shavuot (ok, Shavuos) and Sukkot.  You may need to explain some of this to the people sitting next to you.  

The biggest questions The Lehman Trilogy raises, for me, are about the ways, clear as well as hidden, acknowledged and unacknowledged, that wealth has been accumulated in this country through slavery and slave labor, and through systems that benefit some while oppressing others.  What would it mean and look like to acknowledge this in more detail and specificity?  What repentance or atonement is called for?  And does it make it different if it was Jewish families?  

I also find myself noticing the changing patterns of Jewish behavior over the generations portrayed in the play.  What are the ways we see those patterns playing out in our families and communities, and what do we think and feel about them?  

Go see the play (it's on through September 26), support local live (and excellent) theater, and let me know your reflections on it!  

There will be more opportunity for reflection in preparation for the High Holidays tomorrow (Saturday) night beginning at 8:30pm, for Selichot, the service that first introduces the penitential prayers and melodies of the season.  The service will be almost entirely a cappella, with some of the best, most intense, singing of the entire year.  Join us! 

Here's the schedule:
8:30pm - Havdalah
8:40pm - Looking Back to Look Forward: Selichot Journaling with Will Soll
Rosh Hashanah creates a seam in time, encouraging us to stop and look back before moving forward. This journaling workshop is designed to evoke the ebb and flow of 5783 and harvest its memories before we enter 5784. Journaling is solitary, private work that is nonetheless best done with the structure, support and encouragement of a community. While participants may share parts of their entries with the group if they choose, it is not expected or required.  Bring a pad of paper and a pen.  

9:30pm - Selichot Service with Rabbi Arnow, Karen Kern and Will Soll

Speaking of the High Holidays, as a reminder if you have guests coming to services, while walk-ins are welcome, please have them sign up so we can have a nametag for them.  

But back to Shabbat!  

Tonight, Karen Kern and Will Soll will help welcome Shabbat at 6pm in the chapel with a musical Kabbalat Shabbat. 

Candle lighting is at 7:03pm.  

Tomorrow morning, we'll start at 9am.  Torah Talk with Prof. Nancy Berg this week will be in the Staenberg Family Community Hall at 10:15am.  Kol Hamishpacha (our service for older kids) with Karen Kern will be at 10:45am in the chapel.  

Shabbat ends at 7:59pm.  

Shabbat shalom and see you at shul, 
Rabbi Noah Arnow

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