Celebrate the High Holidays with WCHJ!

At the Community Unitarian Universalist Congregation, 468 Rosedale Avenue, White Plains

Join us for a humanist High Holiday services!

Yom Kippur: Saturday, Sepmeber 30, 4:30pm (followed by break-the-fast)

The service will be led by Rabbi Frank Tamburello. Music will be provided by Prof. Ruth Levy-Schudroff and our own choir (and the congregation, of course!).

There will also be a performance of Kol Nidre.

Break-the-fast after the service requires RSVP. Cost when paid in advance: adult non-members, $20pp; ages 10-12, $10pp. Please mail checks payable to WCHJ to O. Turovsky, 84 Sprague Rd, Scarsdale, NY 10583. Cost when paid at the door: adult non-members, $25pp; ages 10-12, $15pp. Youngsters under 10 admitted at no charge.

What is Yom Kippur?

For Humanistic Jews Yom Kippur is a time of continued reflection, a time to examine human behavior. History has taught human beings to rely on themselves for creating change in our society. Adapting the form of our meditations to the content of our message, Humanistic Jews make Yom Kippur a celebration of inner strength and a time of self-forgiveness. Yom Kippur has a special significance for Humanistic Jews. It is the culmination of our examination of our behavior begun on Rosh Hashana. Yom Kippur is a time to reflect on the moral quality of our values and behavior. Introspection and goal setting are traditional behaviors on the High Holidays. There are three key elements to the Humanistic and rabbinic liturgies for Yom Kippur: teshuva, tefilla, and tsedaka.

Teshuva is a Hebrew word, usually translated as “repentance”, but which actually means return. For Humanistic Jews teshuva is the action of returning to our values and ideals, renewing our commitment to the highest standards of our ethics. Tefilla is traditionally translated as “prayer”, but comes from a word that means self-reflection. For Humanistic Jews tefilla directs us toward self-evaluation. Tsedaka usually means ldquo;charity”, but the deeper meaning tells about what kind of human beings we wish to be: tsadikim, or people who embody the highest ideals of the Jewish people.

Teshuva, tefilla, and tsedaka—return to our ideals, self-reflection, and putting our ethics into action are the cornerstone of the Humanistic celebration of Yom Kippur.

Sukkot: Saturday, October 7, 2:30pm

The service will be led by Rabbi Frank Tamburello

What is Sukkot?

Sukkot follows the Jewish New Year. This eight-day festival, also known as Hag Haasif, Festival of the Ingathering, originally was a fall harvest festival. The sukkot (booths decorated with greens and fruits) were huts built in the fields for shelter during the harvest.

In priestly Judaism, Sukkot became a reminder of the Exodus from Egypt, a celebration of God’s power. The booths represented the dwellings of the Hebrews during their forty-year sojourn in the wilderness. Rabbinic Judaism attempted to revitalize this agricultural celebration for an urban population by tying it to the Torah; thus the last day of Sukkot is Simhat Torah, a day of rejoicing in the Torah.

Humanistic Jews find human significance in the original Sukkot celebration. Agriculture was the first step, a quantum leap toward human mastery of the environment. As farms grew into settlements, which became towns and cities, human ingenuity and courage propelled civilization toward the secular age and even greater human achievements.

Sukkot, then, is a tribute to human prowess. Agricultural, industrial, and technological advances all form the basis of a Humanistic celebration of Sukkot.

Sukkot offers an opportunity in the fall for communities to come together, to experience the out-of-doors, to recognize the interconnectedness of humanity, and to acknowledge responsibility for the environment. In ancient times, Jews gathered in booths for the harvest to increase efficiency. For Humanistic Jews, Sukkot offers an opportunity to work together to build the sukka, which then can become the center of an outdoor celebration: a picnic under a roof open to the sun or stars, or a community bonfire that evokes memories of family cookouts or camp overnights.

Three additional themes may reflect the agricultural origins of the holiday. First, building and taking apart the sukka may call to mind the transitory nature of human existence and the fleetingness of human experience. Second, the covering of the sukka is organic, suggesting human beings’ dependence upon nature, as well as their mastery of it. Third, the fullness and beauty of the harvest may focus attention on the abundance of beauty in the world.

Humanistic Jews use the ancient symbols of Sukkot – the lulav (a date palm branch tied together with myrtle and willow) and the etrog (a fragrant citron)—as symbols of the harvest in Israel, a connection to the Jewish homeland.

There is a tradition of welcoming guests, called ushpizin, into your sukka, a tradition that is very consistent with the welcoming attitude of Humanistic Judaism.

Address: Community Unitarian Universalist Congregation,468 Rosedale Avenue, White Plains

Please RSVP to Charlotte Klein, 914-218-8535, or email info@wchj.org