Pre-High Holiday Message - Parashat Nitzavim

Shalom Shaarei Kodesh,Rabbi Baum sranding
Jack Benny once told a famous joke:  A man stops a another man on the streets of Manhattan and asks him, "Do you know how to get to Carnegie Hall?"  The man answers, "Practice, practice, practice." 
A few of the goals of the high holidays, Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, are to transcend to new heights; and to think about our lives and how we can improve our spiritual selves, our families, our friends, our community, and the world through tesuvah, repentance.  Sounds easy right?  Many of us come to shul expecting to be moved, but movement takes preparation and practice.  I would like to help us all by providing some opportunities for preparation for our high holidays:
  1. This Shabbat - we are going to delve into the liturgy and study one of the most famous prayers in the Mahzor, the Unetaneh Tokef.  We are going to look at the prayer as poem, and delve into the prayer with some commentaries, and of course, comments and discussion. 
  2. In order to prepare for the Rosh Hashanah, I've created a You Tube playlist which deal with some of the topics I'll be exploring on Rosh Hashanah.
  3. A one page insert for your Mahzors.
During my sermon on the first day of Rosh Hashanah, I will be focusing on the individual:  to you, to me, to each one of us.  What are the issues we face as individuals in this world?  How can feel at times in such a vast world?  If you would like to prepare yourselves for this talk, I recommend watching the first 5 minutes of a clip, a Ted Talk, titled, You Matter.

On the second day of Rosh Hashanah, I'll be zooming out and talking about us as a people, both here and in Israel.  As we all know, it has been a rough summer of debate over the Iran Nuclear Deal.  As we look forward to the next year, the question is, where do we go from here?    On the second day of Rosh Hashanah I will be giving two talks on Israel, one before the Prayer for the State of Israel, and the other will be a sermon:  Israel and Choosing Life. If you would like to prepare yourselves for these talks, I urge you to watch Rabbi Israel Meir Lau's speech at Auschwitz (specifically the ending beginning at the 12:15 minute mark) and the video on Jewish unity


If you have any other clips you recommend for general preparation, please feel free to send them to me and I will add them to the playlist.
This year, I have created a one page insert for our Mahzors.  This one page document will include brief explanations of the service.
Shabbat Shalom and we look forward to seeing you on Rosh Hashanah!
Rabbi David Baum


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