High Holy Days celebration wil begin at Temple Bat Yam Friday
The shofar (an ancient musical instrument made from a ram’s horn) will sound the clarion call to worship as the Jewish communities of Lake Tahoe’s South Shore, Minden/Gardnerville and Carson City join with Temple Bat Yam in observing the Jewish New Year over the next two weeks.
The Jewish congregation serving all three communities will begin the High Holy Days observance with Rosh Hashanah new year services Friday evening and Saturday, Sept. 29 and 30, and a children’s service Sunday morning, Oct. 1. The services will continue on Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, Sunday evening and Monday, Oct. 8 and 9.
All services are open to anyone wishing to attend at the temple, 3260 Pioneer Trail in South Lake Tahoe. No tickets will be issued. A voluntary donation is suggested for non-members.
Attendees at this year’s service will find more music than ever before in the temple’s 16-year history as new Student Rabbi Karen Deitsch and Cantorial Soloist Carolyn Goor-Hutchinson will both be chanting the traditional prayers.
Deitsch, a rabbinical student at Hebrew Union College in Los Angeles who recently was named spiritual leader at the temple, will lead the High Holy Days observance. Goor-Hutchinson of San Francisco, who studied at the Academy of Jewish Religion in New York, will be returning to Lake Tahoe for her second year to chant the melodies with congregants and lead them in learning some new, lesser-known prayers.
Members and guests attending this year also will find a newly remodeled temple, complete with a raised Bimah (pulpit), new chairs and a first-ever sound system for the building.
Though it may be a new millennium and the year 2000, this New Year observance is welcoming the Jewish year 5761. Unlike secular new year celebrations, the High Holy Days observance are the most sacred days in the Jewish calendar and are known as the Days of Awe. They are a time for personal and community introspection for the world’s 12 million Jews.
Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur are spent in prayer, asking forgiveness for sins of the past year and to be blessed with a healthy and happy year ahead. It begins with Rosh Hashanah, which literally means the “head” of the year. That begins a 10-day period of atonement and spiritual renewal that concludes with the observance of the Day of Atonement.
The services will get under way Friday at 7:30 p.m. and continue Saturday at 10 a.m. Following the morning Rosh Hashanah service will be a brief service at Ragan Beach in South Lake Tahoe that symbolizes the casting away of one’s sins on the waters of Lake Tahoe in striving to be inscribed in the Book of Life for a good year.
A children’s service will be conducted by Deitsch and Goor-Hutchinson at 10 a.m. on Sunday.
Yom Kippur will begin Sunday night, Oct. 8, at 7:30 p.m., with the chanting of Kol Nidre, the holiest prayer of the holiday period. Yom Kippur services will resume Monday, Oct. 9, at 10 a.m., with the traditional Yiskor memorial service and concluding service to begin at 4 p.m. Monday afternoon.
Since the Day of Atonement is a fast day, a potluck meal called Break-the-Fast will be held at the temple following the blowing of the ram’s horn that traditionally ends Yom Kippur services. All members and guests are invited.
A climactic point in both Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur services in the blowing of the shofar, the ram’s horn capable of many musical pitches, which some say is a way of calling attention to the importance of these holidays.
Additional information can be obtained by calling Temple Bat Yam at (775) 588-4503.