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The Shofar Sounds Once More

Shofar 2012

By Patricia Browne Hirschl

On Yom Kippur, the shofar (the ram’s horn) summons Jews around the world to reflection and renewal. To those who fully open themselves to it, Yom Kippur is a life-transforming experience. Every year on that day, Judaism affirms that humans have within themselves the power to choose life, which leads to the power to change the world by exercising their free will. Free will is the willingness to swim against the current. To be a Jew is not to go with the flow, but to challenge the idols of the age, whatever the idol, whatever the age. In ages of collectivism, Jews emphasized the value of the individual. In ages of individualism, Jews built strong communities. When most of humanity was consigned to ignorance, Jews were highly literate. In ages of poverty, they practiced tzedakah— the giving of charity—so that none would lack the essentials of a dignified life.

With such lofty goals, not every person can meet the challenge every time. So high does Judaism set the bar, that falling short time and again is the norm. Enter Yom Kippur, a time each year for acknowledging shortcomings, resolving to do better, and moving on. (adapted from Yom Kippur by Rabbi Jonathan Sacks.)

In San Miguel, this most solemn of all Jewish holidays will be celebrated with appropriate gravity.

The holiday begins at sundown on Friday, September 29, at 7pm with the Kol Nidre service jointly led by Dan Lessner, Carole Stone, Soli Cohen, and Maxine Graboyes. The cello and keyboard add musical accompaniment.

Yom Kippur itself is Saturday, September 30, and begins at 9:30am with a traditional service led by Dan Lessner, Carole Stone, and Soli Cohen. At approximately 12:15pm, Carole Stone conducts Musaf (including Yizkor). At 2:30pm, Norman Feldstein guides a meditation and discussion based on the themes of the holiday. At 5:30pm, a Reconstructionist Mincha service includes a dramatization based on the Book of Jonah, created by Judith Jenya. At 6:45pm, Dan Lessner leads the Ne’ilah (concluding) service. At sundown, precisely 8:04pm, a blast from the shofar signals the end of the Holy Days.

A community break-the-fast follows, for which all are asked to bring a dairy or pareve dish (prepared without meat, milk, or their derivatives and therefore permissible to be eaten with both meat and dairy dishes according to traditional Jewish dietary laws). The public is invited to any or all of these events. All services will be held at the Jewish Cultural and Community Center at Las Moras 45.

For more information, see


Religious Service

Jewish Cultural and Community Center presents

“The Shofar”

By Dan Lessner, Carole Stone, Soli Cohen, and Maxine Graboyes

Friday, Sep 29, 7pm

Las Moras 45


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