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July 2019 Rabbi Arnow's Article

“When do I bow, and why do some people fully prostrate?”

“Can I learn some of the songs we’ll sing?”

“What am I supposed to do during the Priestly Blessing? And what are the Kohanim (priests) doing under their tallitot, anyway?”

“And how exactly do you sound the shofar, because I’d like to try to see if I could do it.”

These questions will be the focus of the High Holiday prep classes that Rabbi Shafrin and I will be teaching this year. There’s a long custom of preparing in the Hebrew month of Elul (the month that precedes Tishrei and Rosh Hashanah) for the High Holidays. Sometimes we prepare spiritually, or learn the rules of holidays, or focus on some of the special prayers for that holiday, or the narrative of the holiday. 

This year, we’ll focus on practicalities, on four consecutive Wednesday evenings at 7pm, beginning August 28. 

Our first session will be “How to Sound the Shofar--for beginners, experts and anyone in between” (with Rabbi Shafrin). We are in need of people to sound the shofar at all our services this year, including every weekday morning during Elul. Come learn how to sound the shofar, some of the rules involved, and start practicing now so you’re ready for Rosh Hashanah! 

On September 4, our topic will be “The Priestly Blessing: A How-To for Kohanim, Levites and Israelites” (with Rabbis Shafrin and Arnow). All of our Kohanim are invited to a refresher about what to do under the tallit, Levites can have a quick review of proper handwashing procedures, and Israelites can learn about what the Kohanim and Levites are doing, as well as what they should be doing during the Priestly Blessing. 

If you’ve ever wondered about when to bow and how much, when to step backward and forward, when to stand on tiptoes, and other prayer choreography-related questions, this session on September 11 (with Rabbi Arnow) is for you! People with all kinds of mobility are welcome. 

This year, we anticipate using many of the same melodies we’ve used in the past several years, but there will also be a couple of new melodies. Join us to learn some new melodies, review newish melodies, and sing some old favorites on Wednesday, September 18 (with Rabbi Arnow). 

We look forward to seeing you in Elul, and on the holidays too! 

Sat, August 15 2020 25 Av 5780