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Rosh Hashanah, Welcoming 5778

Shofar 2012

By Patricia Browne Hirschl

Judaism has a particularly Jewish perspective of time. The larger world views time as a straight line; each moment is a unique point along this line. The Jewish model is a spiral, where the seasons recur annually, each bringing their unique potential for spiritual growth. The Jewish holidays are signposts on that spiral, nudging us to absorb the wisdom each holiday holds.

Rosh Hashanah, the “head of the year,” is a time to reflect on the future and how to meet it. At the very beginning of each year, we Jews take time to contemplate the future. Ten days later, on Yom Kippur, the emphasis is on what we have done in the past. But in the New Year, we look ahead to where we want to go with our lives. Thus we welcome an upcoming year that is truly new not only in name, but also in reality (adapted from The Meaning of Rosh Hashanah: An In-Depth Analysis by Rabbi Asher Resnick).

In San Miguel, CHESMA, A.C. (Comunida Hebrea En San Miguel de Allende, Asociación Civil) celebrates Rosh Hashanah with a smorgasbord of events. The holiday begins on Wednesday, September 20, at sundown. We begin with a celebratory dinner at the Hotel Monte Verde at 5pm. Following, a Reconstructionist service begins at 7:30pm led by Maxine Graboyes and Judith Jenya, whose First Friday Live services draw crowds and raves. Their mix of prayer in song, poetry, chant, and live music creates an enthusiastic welcome to 5778. A dessert oneg follows, with traditional honey cake and apples dipped in honey, foreshadowing a sweet year.

The next day, Thursday, September 21, two simultaneous services accommodate both English and Spanish-speaking worshippers. Carole Stone, whose voice has enhanced many Shalom San Miguel services through the years, and who has had 40 years’ experience as a cantorial soloist, will lead a Reform service beginning at 10am, primarily in English. Another, more traditional service, beginning at 9am, will be led in Spanish and Hebrew by Dan Lessner, longtime religious leader of Kehilla Shalom San Miguel de Allende.

At the conclusion of the two services, the congregation will observe tashlich, the casting away of sins, at the arroyo near the José Vasconselos School. Tashlich is an ancient and popular ceremony of mentally transferring all failures of the past year to bits of bread that are then tossed into a flowing stream. Later the same day at 2pm, Norman Feldstein leads a silent meditation with music, chants, readings, and reflections on the holiday’s meaning.

On Friday, September 22, at 9:30am, a traditional service for the second day of Rosh Hashanah will be led by Dan Lessner, joined by Soli Cohen, a cantor for many years in Mexico City, now living in San Miguel, and Carole Stone.

The public is invited to all events, all at JC3, calle de las Moras 47 (Esquina de Cinco de Mayo), Col. Allende/Guadiana except as noted above.


Religious Service

Rosh Hashanah

By CHESMA San Miguel

Wed–Fri, Sep. 20–22

Jewish Cultural and Community Center of San Miguel de Allende

Calle de las Moras 47, Col. Allende/Guadiana


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