Image: Man blowing a shofar, a ram’s horn.
Rosh HaShanah begins this year at sundown on September 20, 2017, two months from now.
Every pulpit rabbi is busy with sermons and service plans. Every synagogue staff is frantically busy with preparations.
For the “Jew in the pew” September may seem a long way off.
Are you interested in attending services this year? If you are not a synagogue member, now is the time to start thinking about where you would like to attend. For every person who wants a seat in an urban or suburban synagogue, there may be several people who want that seat. That’s one of the reasons that synagogues sell tickets for the big High Holy Day services. And that is why you should start looking for your service very soon.
Don’t want to “pay to pray?” There are probably free services available in your area if you live in a city in the U.S., but again, you may want to locate those services sooner rather than later. Call your local Federation or Jewish Community Center office and ask what they know about free High Holy Day services.
If you have been thinking that this is your year to join a synagogue, I strongly suggest that you visit synagogues before the High Holy Days. This has several advantages:
- Your dues will include your High Holy Day tickets.
- You will not be stuck in a strange synagogue for the High Holy Days.
- Summer is a good time to visit synagogues. The High Holy Days are a terrible time to visit synagogues.
If you are a synagogue member, now is the time to remind yourself that this is the most stressful time of year for synagogue office staff. In addition to their regular work, they are preparing mailings, service books, and handouts. As the membership agreements come in, they have to deal with people’s questions about tickets, their complaints about last year, their worries about this year, and assorted kvetching about the weather and the parking last year. If you aspire to be a mensch (and you should aspire to be a mensch!) BE NICE TO THOSE PEOPLE!
So yes, the High Holy Days are coming, and fast. Be menschen, that you may be sealed for goodness in the Book of Life!