Temple Isaiah classes for adults exploring Jewish life, history, and practice.

blowing the shofar (by Alphonse Lévy)

Image via Wikipedia

It was a pleasure to meet each of you at our first class meeting on Sunday.  Thank you for your patience with all the details of a first class meeting:  next week we’ll be able to dive into our topic, the High Holy Day cycle.

We went over the Syllabus, talked about the Tzedakah Box, and dealt with the nuts and bolts of registration.  Remember that it will take a little time for everyone to get the book, Settings of Silver by Stephen M. Wylan.   There will be new copies available for sale in class.  (Please bring cash or a check to pay for it.)   Don’t stress over the readings for now — you can catch up when you get the book.

The only homework for now is to take a few minutes to look closely at the diagram of the Jewish year that was in your packet.   When I get a chance to scan it, I will add a .pdf of the diagram to the Resources page.  The point of the diagram is to let you look at the Jewish year on its own, without the Gregorian calendar.  What do you notice in the diagram?  Do you see any patterns?  Do you see anything that puzzles you?

As I mentioned today, if any of you have an idea of a different way to represent the Jewish year, I hope you will bring them to class to share.  What patterns and cycles do you see (or feel!) in the Jewish year?

Next Sunday we will focus on the High Holy Day cycle.  Look closely at it on the wheel diagram.  Are there things there that you do not recognize?  Did I leave anything out?

I wish you all a sweet Rosh Hashanah, a New Year of hope and honey.  L’shana Tovah tikateivu:  May you be inscribed for a good year!

— Rabbi Adar



Comments on: "A great first day!" (1)

  1. Mary W. said:

    I’ve updated this a bit:
    Reading about Teshuvah, I am struck by how Martin Buber modernizes the concept of sin into something that we can explore more fully than the crude “Thou shalt and shalt not.” From “Settings of Silver,” on page 151:
    “Buber defined sin as those deeds that cannot be done with integrity, those deeds that can only be performed by a divided self. If a person turns with his whole being to God he will find that God is always turning to him. Buber called the relationship of one person to another in complete integrity the ‘I-Thou’ relationship. This is opposed to the ‘I-It’ relationship in which we deal with one another in objective terms. We can have ‘I-It’ relationships with other people–they are necessary–but we can only relate to God as a Thou. Teshuvah requires that a person turn to God with all of his being. The primary task of a person who desires ‘the turning’ is to unite his own self. One must live with integrity.”

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