Today is February 23, 2019 /
I want to begin by wishing you and your family a Shanah Tovah U’metukah – a good and sweet 5777. May you only grow spiritually and as always, emanate the Divine Image and Likeness to yourself to all whom you will encounter.
I have a number of important announcements. The first is the Reform Service. We always strive to provide the finest spiritual experience for you and for your family. This year, we will be using the newest Reform Mahzor (High Holy Day Prayer book), Mishkan Hanephesh. It will take a little getting used to, but the spirit and tenor of our service will remain intact. The UVJC/Hillel Choir, under the direction of Evan Griffith, will return to lead us in beautiful, prayerful music. Our Hazzan for this year is Ariel Wertheim. Ariel’s particular sensitivity and warmth, as well as his beautiful voice will only enhance our Reform Service experience for all who will attend. We are so fortunate to have them.
Let us now turn first to Kol Nidre. Spencer Topel and Evan Hirsch, both of the music department, prior to candle lighting, will play the Kol Nidre for violin and piano by Max Bruch. This will begin at 6:00 pm. Please arrive early as once their playing begins, seating will not be permitted. When they have concluded, of course people may then be seated. The candles will be lit and the service will commence.
For Minchah, there is also a new addition. Once again, there will be no seating once the once the last two movements of the Shostakovich Piano Trio No 2 begin. Upon conclusion of the Shostakovich, we will close the Minchah Service with the Chanting of Psalms 131 and Verse 1 of Psalm 133 as composed by Leonard Bernstein for Chorus and Orchestra in his work “Chichester Psalms.” This beautiful composition is an extraordinary prayerful piece – a meditation on our relationship to G-d grounded on humility and contentment. Psalm 133:1 is הנה מה-טוב ומה-נעים שבט אחים גם יחד – how good and pleasant it is that we are together as a sacred people (lit. brothers). You will have an insert in your prayer book of the Hebrew, its transliteration, and English translation. Our small choir, consisting of David Hoffer, Jeff and Kathy Parsonnet, Karen Harris, and Bonnie Kimmelman, will chant these Psalms under the direction of Filippo Ciabatti, the Director of the Dartmouth Symphony Orchestra, accompanied by the piano trio of Evan Hirsch, Spencer Topel, and Harris Fraser. I want to thank all of them for their extraordinary dedication in making this prayerful composition a part of our service. Again, I want to emphasize there will be no seating throughout this period. I encourage those who wish to experience this beautiful form of worship to arrive at the start of the Minchah service (4:30 pm).
Upon conclusion of this prayer that will close the Minchah, the Neilah will begin immediately after everyone is seated.
These High Holy Days are sacred and holy because of your dedication, commitment to Jewish life and peoplehood, and to our communities. May G-d continue to bless the work of your hands in creating all that is good and pure.
Shanah Tovah U’metukah –