Middle of Sukkot and Hoshanah Rabbah

In Jewish time we are in the middle of Sukkot. This Friday is called Hoshanah Rabbah and is known as a kind of Yom Kippur make up day in case there are any leftover needs for forgiveness and soulful cleansing.

This Shabbat is the eighth day of the Sukkot season, a day of transition from the season of holidays into the coming year. Hopefully, through the process of prayer, Teshuva and intimately connecting with Nature (HaTevah = G!d) during this season, we are energized to do the work necessary to do Tikun Olam and respond to life’s challenges.

This Shabbat is also another day to remember our loved ones and so we do Yiskor as well. It is customary to light Yarhtzeit candles on Friday night before Shabbat candles. If you are in town, come to our new Center for services followed by Kiddush in the Sukkah.

Last weekend I celebrated Sukkot with tens of thousands of people on the National Mall. The World Culture Festival organizers built a Sukkah and asked me to teach about Sukkot, the Lulav and the Etrog and lead some music. Theo and Larry from the Fiddlers joined me on late Shabbat afternoon, Aaron on Sunday. Dozens of folks, Jews and non-Jews celebrated Sukkot as part of this festival of cultural sharing, prayer and meditation for global peace. Ironically, as we faced East on Saturday afternoon, Congress decided not to close-down the government!

This is dues renewal time for Am Kolel. We want to thank those who have renewed so far. We still have ways to go. If we do not receive your dues we simply cannot continue to serve you and the community.

If you are receiving this newsletter and are not a full or associate member, please consider taking the leap. The benefits are many!

Finally, some have asked if I am retiring from Am Kolel. The answer is “no.” While I’ve been emeritus for four years with Kehila, this does not include Am Kolel. Regarding High Holiday services next year, I will be leading a separate service for members and friends of Am Kolel in Montgomery County. Years ago, I asked Kehila to seek a new rabbi to take that community forward since I could not serve both communities at the same time. Our relationship is good. We are sister communities and have teamed up on social action projects.

Stop by our new center in Rockville. Also, we still run programs at Sanctuary until we can find an organization to take it over.

Enjoy this final harvest season, up with joy and blessings,

Reb David

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