Recently, I asked the KI Clergy and Senior Staff to send me recommendations for resources to share with the congregation to help prepare for the coming High Holy Days. Never did I suspect how popular this topic would be. My in-box has been filled with on-line resources and programs.
Rabbi Shoshanah Tornberg, our new Educational Director, suggests that families with elementary school age children share these books:
Gershon’s Monster by Eric A. Kimmel
New Year at the Pier by April Halprin Wayland
Red, Blue and Yellow Yarn by Miriam E. Kosman
What’s the Buzz by Allison Ofanansky
She also recommends that older teens and adults read or re-read The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini for a powerful account of teshuvah(repentance).
Hazzan David Tilman, the Director of Shir KI, suggests that congregants listen to the: “Rosh Hashanah Service: Jan Peerce with the Camerata Singers, Abraham Kaplan Conductor (Vinyl recording)” to help get into the right frame of mind for the High Holy Days.
He also suggests we read this book written by his childhood Rabbi: The High Holy Days: A Commentary on the Prayerbook of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur by Hayyim Herman Kieval (2004)
My son, Rabbi Howard Tilman, is using the book This is Real and You Are Completely Unprepared (2003) by Rabbi Alan Lew, for a series of Pre-Holiday workshops. He describes this work as “Modern classic of High Holiday literature. The book presents the entire High Holiday season as a journey of personal and spiritual transformation.”
I found the children’s book, A Moon for Moe and Mo (2018) by Jane Breskin Zalben to be particularly relevant in today’s times. Moe, a Jewish boy, lives at one end of Flatbush Avenue in Brooklyn, while Mo, a Muslim boy, lives at the other. One day they meet at Sahadi’s market while out shopping with their mothers to celebrate Rosh Hashanah and Ramadan. They are mistaken for brothers. A friendship is born, and the boys bring their families together to share rugelach and date cookies in the park as they make a wish for peace.
All of the above book titles are available in The Meyers Library and may be borrowed at our Foyer Pick-up. For a complete listing of the books on Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur available in the library, please consult our on-line catalog available on the KI website.
The President of KI has suggested we look at the following two books for inspiration and education during the High Holiday season.
“I attended the URJ Biennial in Chicago in December. I met Sarah Hurwitz, former speech writer to President Barak Obama, and head speech writer for Michelle Obama. Sara Hurwitz is also a graduate of Harvard Law School. Her book is called, Here All Along and it focuses on her personal search for Judaism as an adult. The blurb describes her as the quintessential lapsed Jew. Her journey to rediscovering Judaism, as she writes, “after finally choosing to look there” is one I found very relative to my own life and my quest to find deeper meaning in my own Judaism.
I have also been reading through the essays and articles in: Moral Resistance and Spiritual Authority: Our Jewish Obligation to Social Justice, edited by Rabbi Jonah Pesner who is the Director of the Religious Action Center of the URJ. In order to complete acts of Tikkun Olam and plan Social Action projects at KI we need to understand how Judaism connects with issues relevant to our society today. This book is filled with articles on women’s health, LGBTQ rights, racial justice and speaking truth to power.”
The CCAR Press (Central Conference of American Rabbis) is holding a FREE zoom program: Mishkan HaNefesh: A Conversation on Today’s Mahzor on Thursday September 3 at 12:30 pm. This is the two volume High Holiday Prayer book that we use at KI. To learn more about this program and to register click here.
My Jewish Learning published an article titled “5 Ways to Get Ready for Rosh Hashanah: How to Prepare Spiritually for the Jewish New Year.” Click here to read the article.
Finally, Reformjudaism.org has an excellent article by Kate Bigam Kaput titled “It’s Elul: t6 Ways to Get Ready for the High Holidays.” Click here for the link.
If you have any specific questions or requests, please contact the Library at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ellen Tilman, Director.