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Dear Sha’are Shalom family,

 

Shana Tovah! Welcome to 5783! 

 

As we move into these days between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, a period of time called “the 10 days of teshuvah,” our tradition teaches God takes into account our prayers and our efforts to renew ourselves and the world. It is a time of transition, of setting out a plan for spiritual and personal growth through the year, and every transitional time is also a time of uncertainty and vulnerability.

 

This is a time of anxious waiting also for everyone who lives on Florida’s Gulf Coast. A friend of mine posted a picture of her son who lives in Tampa and asked everyone to pray for him and for all Tampa residents. 

 

If you’d like to offer a prayer for Florida, please email it to me and I will forward it to a Jewish community that’s in the path of the storm (rabbineiltow@shaare-shalom.org). At the very least we can offer some spiritual support and reassurance. 

 

With the ripple effect of the storm pushing rain up into our area this weekend, please watch for updates about our planned Reverse Tashlich for Sunday. 

 

And as we look ahead toward Yom Kippur, we begin to think about the word “Kippur.” It comes from “kaparah,” meaning "atonement," which we can read as "at-one-ment" or reconciliation with God. Atonement is also about at-one-ment with ourselves and with one another. We think about the places in our lives, in our hearts, and beyond, where we notice disunity and brokenness. 

 

Rabbi Isaac Luria teaches us that at creation God’s radiant light could not be contained, and the vessels that tried to contain it shattered into sparks of holiness that fill the universe. This Yom Kippur, we pray for the energy to do mitzvot and acts of lovingkindness all through this new year, so that we can remake the broken vessels and live in a world renewed.

 

Shabbat Shalom and Shanah Tovah!

Rabbi Tow

How can we recognize the holiness of various moments in our lives? Click here for videos from Rabbi Tow and be on the lookout for more snippets on how blessings can help enrich these moments.

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