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SUKKOT SERVICE TIMES

All services for Shabbat and Yom Tov will be held in-person in the Main Sanctuary and on Livestream.  
Shacharit and Mincha/Maariv services on Chol Hamoed will be held on Zoom and Facebook Live. 

Click here to register for in person services
(Please note - Registration closes Friday, October 2 at 12:00 PM for services this weekend. Registration will open Tuesday, October 6 at 9:00 AM for services next weekend.)

FRIDAY, OCTOBER 2 - Erev Sukkot
6:30 PM - Kabbalat Shabbat service     Where: Main Sanctuary / 
Livestream 

SATURDAY, OCTOBER 3 - Sukkot
9:30 AM - Shabbat Yom Tov morning      Where: Main Sanctuary / 
Livestream 
6:30 PM - Shabbat Yom Tov evening      Where: Main Sanctuary / 
Livestream 

SUNDAY, OCTOBER 4 - Sukkot
9:30 AM - Yom Tov morning     Where: Main Sanctuary  / 
Livestream 
6:30 PM - Yom Tov evening     Where: Main Sanctuary / 
Livestream 

MONDAY, OCTOBER 5 - THURSDAY, OCTOBER 8 - Chol Hamoed Sukkot
7:30 AM - Shacharit                 Where
ZOOM  or Facebook Live
6:30 PM - Mincha/Maariv         Where:  ZOOM  or Facebook Live

FRIDAY, OCTOBER 9 - Hoshana Rabah
7:30 AM - Shacharit                               Where
ZOOM  or Facebook Live
8:30 AM -  Special Yizkor service          WhereZOOM  or Facebook Live
6:30 PM - Kabbalat Shabbat service     Where: Main Sanctuary / Livestream 

SATURDAY, OCTOBER 10 - Shmini Atzeret
9:30 AM - Shabbat morning Yizkor service    Where: Main Sanctuary / 
Livestream 
6:30 PM - Shabbat Yom Tov evening             Where: Main Sanctuary / 
Livestream 

SUNDAY, OCTOBER 11 - Simchat Torah
9:30 AM - Yom Tov morning         Where: Main Sanctuary  / 
Livestream 
6:30 PM - Yom Tov evening         Where: Main Sanctuary / 
Livestream 

YIZKOR PRAYERS

CLICK HERE FOR THE YIZKOR PRAYERS

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Rabbi  Morrison's Yom Kippur - Yizkor Sermon 5781

If there is one day in the year that puts us in a death like trance it is Yom Kippur.  The rules of the day prohibit us from eating, drinking, bathing, applying ointments, and conjugal relations. The sum is a death like trance. Take the customs,  liturgy and the Torah reading of the day.

 The Kittel, or white robe, that I am wearing today is akin to Tachrichim, the shroud in which one is buried. In many traditional synagogues, many of the attendees, not only clergy, wear the Kittel on this day. 

The Torah reading comes from a Parsha called Acharei Mot, after the deaths of. The reading of Yom Kippur describes the first ever observance of Yom Kippur in Biblical times, but it is introduced with a reference to the deaths of Nadav and Avihu, two of the sons of Aharon, the High Priest.

In the Musaf on Yom Kippur, we add a section called Eleh Ezkerah, These I remember. We make reference to the horrific stories of ten famous Sages who were brutally slain by the Romans during the Second Temple period. Nowadays, we augment those terrible ancient stories with tales from the Shoah and other tragic chapters of Jewish history.

As I have mentioned during the High Holy Days, the U'Netaneh Tokef prayer is meant to draw attention to our personal mortality - Who shall live, and who shall die? and by what means? On and on, the customs, liturgy, and scripture have us rehearsing, as it were, our own deaths. Fortunately, in our case, the staged drama concludes at the end of Neila. We go home, eat and drink, and resume our normal life's activities.

Most of us here today come with a saddened heart. We remember loved ones who have made an impression on our lives. With some of them, we carry only positive memories. With some, our memories are mixed. With some, we mourn not only what we had with them but also what we did not have with them. Some of us mourn the loss of parents. Others mourn the loss of spouse, siblings, children, other relatives, and/or dear friends. Some of us mourn the loss of a whole family chain, taken from this world by the evil of the Shoah. Some of us have lost loved ones to terrible diseases, accidents on the road, or natural causes. Regardless, our own personal bereavement is our weight to bear and to grieve.

For me personally, as you all know, I enter the High Holy Day season commemorating the Yahrzeit of my mother, who died early Rosh Hashanah morning twenty-one years ago. Sadly, early on during the pandemic, I officiated a number of funerals where the deceased died of Covid-19. None of those deaths were directly tied to Beth Emeth members. How haunting it was for me to officiate in the presence of only grave diggers, funeral directors, and the deceased. For health and safety reasons, no family members were allowed at all Covid related funerals. In the Spring, as the numbers of Covid related deaths kept increasing, I was touched personally by this awful virus. I found out on a Saturday night that my uncle, Sydney Morrison, had died of Covid-19. Early Saturday morning, he had a high fever. Before Shabbat had ended, he was pronounced dead in an upstate New York hospital. My uncle Sydney, was the youngest of my dad's five siblings. He grew up mentally and emotionally challenged and lived his entire adult life in supported housing. Never married, it fell on his nephews and nieces to arrange a burial that none of us could attend in Staten Island, New York. The one comfort is that he is buried a stone's throw away from a brother of his, my Uncle Joe, who died unmarried ten years ago.

The corona virus has changed so much. In my rabbinic work, the culture of how we honor the memory of the deceased and offer comfort to mourners has changed drastically. While social media enables family and friends to view a funeral from a virtual closeness; during the Spring months only up to ten people could attend a graveside funeral. In the Summer, that number was increased to twenty. The whole service, from beginning to end, with brief eulogies and a partial burial, have had to  take place in the content of thirty minutes and no longer. So many amazing people who left this earth during the pandemic deserved a chapel service with hundreds of people attending, longer honorable tributes, and a full burial at the cemetery. Before the weather warmed up, all Shivas were private. Finally, scheduled backyard visits became the norm during the Summer. But soon, the cold weather will set in again.

One particular death which touched me in many ways during the pandemic was the death of Rabbi Peretz Weitzman. If you knew him, you thought he was going to live forever. He died at ninety-nine and a half years old. He lived his last few years as a resident at Kensington. He was our Beth Emeth interim rabbi the year before I was hired and came aboard. He had such a lovely smile. He knew so much of our tradition by heart. His warmth, compassion, and erudition came through in every formal or informal way he interacted with you. Since I now live on the same block as Kensington, I would often pass Rabbi Weitzman on my way to or from shul. He would often be found right by the entrance of the Home. He always shared a word of Torah with me. I learned so much from him, from his wisdom, his modesty, his charm, and his compassion.

On a cool day during the Spring, Rabbi Weitzman was laid to rest in the presence of ten people in a Beth Emeth section. I wept not only for his loss, but because his memory deserved much more public attention in my opinion. Nevertheless, his children and grandchildren saw the positive in the beautiful simplicity in which Rabbi Weitzman was laid to rest. One family member remarked to me soon before his death  that Rabbi Weitzman had said, "The Nazis did not get me, but this pandemic is going to get me." A Holocaust survivor, Rabbi Weitzman did not die of Covid-19. He died from being just under 100 years old. But the new normal funeral and shiva culture was shaped by the realities caused from the corona virus. I and we will miss him dearly. I pray that the everlasting souls of Rabbi Kelman and Chazzan Danto have welcomed him to the banquet table held in store for the righteous in the eternal Garden of Eden.

The challenges raised by the pandemic have touched us in many ways -  death and bereavement, certainly being among them. As we prepare to recite Yizkor and remember the loved ones of our families and our history, I conclude with a passage written by my teacher, Rabbi Jules Harlow:

When I stray from you, God, my life is as death; but when I cleave to you, even in death I have life.

You embrace the souls of the living and the dead.

The earth inherits that which perishes.

The dust returns to dust; but the soul, which is God's, is eternal.

God is compassionate to all creation, granting us a share in unending life.

God redeems our life from the grave, joining us forever in the unending chain of life.

May we preserve the memories of those we love and are now gone, through charity in deed and thought.

May we live unselfishly, in truth and love and peace, so that we will be remembered as a blessing, as we lovingly 

remember, this day, those who live on in our hearts.

Amen! 

Gmar Chatima Tova

Thu, 26 November 2020 10 Kislev 5781