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		                                    High Holy Days		                                </span>

High Holy Days 2024 (5785)

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Dear Members of the Beth El Family,

“And may they construct a sanctuary that I may dwell among them.” (Exodus 25:8)

So instructs God to the Israelites, having recently been redeemed from Egyptian bondage. One might think that God would command that the sanctuary be built “that I may dwell within it”. But the Torah avoids this anthropomorphic image of the deity residing within the sacred structure by preferring “that I may dwell among them”, illustrating that God’s presence exists among the people, wherever they may be. As the Mishna teaches, “Whenever two sit together to share words of Torah, then God’s presence resides between them.” (Pirke Avot 3:2)

For many of us, Temple Beth El houses memories of sacred moments and milestones. For others, it is the place where our children happily meet friends and engage in Jewish living and learning. And for others, it is the foundation of our community and the connections which bring us together in an isolated world. In any case, whenever we gather within it, God’s presence dwells among us. 

It is for this reason that I am overjoyed to welcome you home for this year’s High Holy Days. The Greek word “synagogue” means house of gathering. The same goes for the Hebrew “beit knesset”. Without the people, the synagogue is simply a structure, devoid of spiritual awakening. And so on behalf of our clergy, staff and lay leaders, we are excitedly looking forward to the building coming alive with your return. Welcome home.

Wishing you a sweet and happy new year,

Rabbi Jaffe

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Read Our 2023 High Holy Day Sermons

Wed, July 17 2024 11 Tammuz 5784