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Register NOW for Upcoming Zoom Course: “LITURGY AND MUSIC FOR THE DAYS OF AWE”

Register now for our upcoming interactive Zoom course with Cantor Ramón Tasat, starting August 18th, 2023 from 12-1PM, weekly for 4 weeks.

Cantor Tasat to visit Gloucester temple - Jewish Journal

“LITURGY AND MUSIC FOR THE DAYS OF AWE” This course starts on the first of Elul, the month prior to Rosh Hashanah that is a time of introspection and personal stock-taking. Elul is a time of divine closeness, a period where connection to God comes easier than at other times of the year. As such, it is an auspicious time to do the inner work of repairing and deepening one’s relationship with God.

Fridays on Zoom from 12-1 PM EST – August 18th, 25th, September 1st & 8th, 2023

Course description: The Mahzor, the prayer book we use during Rosh haShana and Yom Kippur is filled with words of the heart and spirit, at times deeply personal and at others shared by all of us. Is it possible that, just by connecting to one word, we can transform ourselves and the world around us? In the class, we will dig into liturgical keywords from the Mahzor – Barukh, Melekh, El Ha rahamim, Sefer Ha Hayim, Kadosh, Yom ha Din – and study their translation and context. What did it mean to the Rabbis to include this word in the text at this point? What does it mean to me? Does it describe something about God?  We invite you to find the connection to yourself, to the mahzor, to your community with this online Zoom course presented by Cantor Ramón Tasat and Agudas Israel. Classes will be recorded and available to watch after the live stream for participants.

Course registration fee is $20 per person. Contact the office at 570-455-2851 or with any questions! 

What is Elul?


Elul is the last month of the Jewish year. This is a month in which to spiritually prepare for the High Holiday season of reflection and repentance. Elul is traditionally a time of introspection and personal stock-taking, known in Hebrew as cheshbon hanefesh — literally “an accounting of the soul.” This process is conducted in preparation for Rosh Hashanah when, Jewish tradition teaches, all of humanity is called to account and a divine judgment is issued. The customs associated with Elul are all intended to help cultivate the proper mindset for this preparation. Perhaps the best-known Elul tradition is the blowing of the shofar every weekday after morning services. As on Rosh Hashanah, the daily shofar blasts are intended to rouse us from complacency and jolt us into repentance.

Parashat Re’eh, read at the beginning of Elul, begins with God enjoining the Jewish people thus: “See, this day I set before you blessing and curse: blessing, if you obey the commandments of the Lord your God that I enjoin upon you this day; and curse, if you do not obey the commandments of the Lord your God, but turn away from the path that I enjoin upon you this day and follow other gods, whom you have not experienced.” The first step in taking an account of one’s life is to look, to see clearly the possibilities laid out in each moment and to choose the path of blessing.

The next portion is Parashat Shoftim, which instructs the officers of the Jewish army to release from battle anyone who has built a home they have not yet inhabited, planted a vineyard they have not yet harvested, or betrothed a woman but not yet married her. The point being that those with unfinished business, whose attention may be compromised, are a danger to themselves and others. At a time of year when we contemplate our lives and our mortality, this serves as an invitation to consider what unfinished business is tearing at our hearts.