Ronnie's Awesome List presents a guest article by Deborah Burg-Schnirman. Deborah runs Kesher Marin, a concierge service designed to help families explore Jewish life and community. She is currently helping families connect to programs and options to celebrate the High Holidays and has all kinds of resources for families in and around Marin as well as a special gift offer for families that are celebrating the holidays here for the first time.
The Jewish High Holidays are just around the corner. Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year begins Monday, September 14, 2015 and as is the case with all Jewish holidays, they begin at sundown, the prior evening. Rosh Hashanah is a time of celebration, renewal, reflection and prayer. It is customary to eat apples dipped in honey for a sweet year and wish people a “Shanah Tovah”, a good year. It is a time to ask for forgiveness and commit to intentions of doing better. The 10 days between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur are spent in serious introspection with Yom Kippur, the "Day of Atonement" as one of the most solemn days of the Jewish year. On Yom Kippur, Wednesday, September 23, 2015, many Jews who do not observe any other Jewish custom will refrain from work, fast and/or attend synagogue services on this day. It is a day set aside to atone for the sins of the past year and focus on how we will change. Because the holiday cycle is based on the Jewish calendar which is a modified lunar calendar, the days change from year to year.
The following are a few of the ways for families can celebrate the holidays and if you contact Deborah she can hook you up with something that matches your family’s lifestyle and provide you with a free holiday gift bag, too.
Wednesday, September 9th, Osher Marin JCC in San Rafael is offering a pre-holiday pop-up on from 9 am – 5 pm in the JCC lobby. Come taste a variety of apples and local and organic honey, learn about community offerings and holiday resources, make crafts, purchase gifts and more. Kesher will be helping guide families, Interfaith Family will help families navigate raising children with more than one tradition, and there will be an ‘ask the rabbi’ booth with representatives from many of the local congregations.
Monday, September 14th, Congregation Rodef Sholom in San Rafael offers family services open to the community at 1:15 pm for Rosh Hashanah and on Wednesday, September 23rd at 1:15 pm for Yom Kippur with no reservations or tickets required. They will also be having a Tashlich hike (the ceremony where we symbolically cast away our transgressions) at Tennessee Valley on Tuesday, September 15th at 3:30 pm. In addition, they have a full range of services.
Congregation Kol Shofar in Tiburon invites the community to join for a range of services including traditional services, musical and meditation services, children’s services and family services.
Sunday, September 13th, Chabad Jewish Center of Novato begins their weeks of celebration with a family friendly Rosh Hashanah dinner on at 7:30 dinner and has a range of services and activities for children and families.
PJ Library is a free service that delivers a book or CD every month for two years customized specifically for your child’s age. My favorite PJ library books for the High Holidays are, "Happy Birthday World" by Latifa Berry Kropf for little ones and, "The Hardest Word" by Jacqueline Jules.
September 13, Preschool Super Fun Sundays: Celebrate the Jewish New Year with Alison Faith Levy’s Big Time Tot Rock Band, Contemporary Jewish Museum, San Francisco.
For more information about Kesher, check out the Kesher newsletter with all of the details for the holidays, sign up to receive the newsletter monthly, and join the Kesher Facebook Group which is a place for to find events, host your own get-togethers, give and get advice, share resources, connect with other families with Jewish kids or just follow along in case something strikes your fancy.