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The Agudagram

From the rising unto the setting

Rosh Hashanah allows Jews to find strength – Standard Speaker article on Sept 11, 2023

The Jewish new year of 5784 will
be ushered in at synagogues around the world Friday at sundown and celebrated through Sunday night.

In Jewish tradition, Rosh Hashanah celebrates the birth of the world. On this anniversary of creation, Jews ask forgiveness for any harm they have inflicted, either wittingly or unwittingly and stand before the Creator confessing their shortcomings and asking for forgiveness.

2023 Selichot Prayer Service – Sept 9, 2023 at 10pm on ZOOM

Selichot services are communal prayers for Divine forgiveness, said during the High Holiday season and on Jewish fast days. While most Jewish services are held during the day or early evening, High Holiday Selichot are the exception, held in the wee hours of the night. Drawing from a plethora of biblical verses and rabbinic teachings, they are a soul-stirring introduction to the Days of Awe.

In Ashkenazic tradition, the first night of Selichot is the biggie, held late at night on a Saturday night before Rosh Hashanah. The liturgy for the High Holiday Selichot is not found in most prayerbooks; rather, it is found in special Selichot booklets, with a different selection for each day.

Contact the AIC office to get access to log in to ZOOM for this service.

September 2023 Agudagram

We can differentiate between the
Shofar of Elul, which is primarily
a wake-up call, “Wake up, you
sleepers, from your sleeping, and
those of you who are in deep
slumber, arouse yourselves from
your slumber. And Return to
Hashem!” By the end of Elul, we
are, hopefully, fully awake and
ready, or at least aware, of the
“Fear and Trembling” required by
Rosh HaShanah in democratic America comes with complicated strings attached. They present us with huge political and moral choices between self-protection and fighting for what is right in the greater society. That’s why Daniel can be such a powerful model for us. He rises so high in the court of the king that the latter calls upon his wisdom and good counsel before all his nobility. Yet the favor that Daniel curries with Belshazzar doesn’t prevent him from severely chastising Belshazzar for his wrongdoing. Daniel serves the king, but he serves God and God’s truth even more.

Week 1 – “Days of Awe” Course with Cantor Ramón Tasat & Agudas Israel – August 18, 2023.

Watch the recording of the first of Cantor Ramon’s “Days of Awe” classes, which was live streamed on Zoom for participants on August 18. In this class, we learned about the concept of Teshuva, the importance of process and preparation in Judaism, and a prayer of selichot or forgiveness, Ben Adam Mah Lekha Nirdam.

If you would like to be part of the remaining 3 weeks, you can register here or contact the AIC office to sign up.

Register NOW for Upcoming Zoom Course: “The Poetry and Music of the Psalms”

Register now for the upcoming interactive Zoom course presented by Cantor Ramón Tasat in conjunction with the Hazleton JCC, starting Friday October 27th, 2023 from 12-1PM, weekly for 4 weeks. We invite invite you to join us for an upcoming lecture series presented by Agudas Israel’s Cantor Ramón Tasat in conjunction with the Hazleton JCC on “The Music and Poetry of the Psalms”. The interactive & musical lectures will be broadcast live on Zoom as well as recorded for registered participants. The cost for the course is $20.  “We are all overwhelmed by the tragedy that has befallen our beloved State of Israel. During this difficult time, the Psalms provide us with moments of great inspiration, passion, introspection and beauty. Join us for 4 Fridays starting Oct. 27th from 12-1 p.m on ZOOM to connect together as a community to discuss the ideas expressed in the text and sing beautiful musical settings that enlarge the already vibrant meaning… Read More »Register NOW for Upcoming Zoom Course: “The Poetry and Music of the Psalms”

Summer 2023 Agudagram

The story of the handwriting on the wall occupies the realm of biblical mythology and miracle. Removing this literary dressing, we’re left with a message and a mission, a “writing on the wall” of contemporary life, which we Jews are obligated to place incessantly before society: we must speak truth to power. This is difficult to do, especially when it places us at great potential risk; it has always been a fraught endeavor for us, especially in the Diaspora. Like Daniel, we Jews have struggled over many centuries to survive with political cunning under regimes that tolerated us, used us, were hostile to us, and most horribly, tried to destroy us. Even Jewish life
in democratic America comes with complicated strings attached. They present us with huge political and moral choices between self-protection and fighting for what is right in the greater society. That’s why Daniel can be such a powerful model for us. He rises so high in the court of the king that the latter calls upon his wisdom and good counsel before all his nobility. Yet the favor that Daniel curries with Belshazzar doesn’t prevent him from severely chastising Belshazzar for his wrongdoing. Daniel serves the king, but he serves God and God’s truth even more.

May 2023 Agudagram

Shavuot has its origins in the
ancient mid-summer harvest
celebrations of the
Canaanites, the ancient
people from which Israelite
society sprang during the
Bronze Age. These early
religions’ celebrations, in
which revelers rejoiced in
the harvesting of wheat, were local affairs probably celebrated in communal threshing grounds,
where the wheat was separated from the chaff, and other cultic sites.

All that started to change in the 7th and 8th centuries BCE, when the Jerusalem monarchs and
priesthood consolidated power, bringing formerly separate tribes under the helm of one ruler.
As part of this program, they co-opted these local affairs and supplanted them by unified rites
that could only be performed in the Temple in Jerusalem…

April 2023 Agudagram

At the great seder night of Pesach when we read and discuss the immortal words of the
Pesach Hagada, my family has always enthusiastically sung the portion of the Hagada
that we know as “Dayenu.” By the grace of G-d, I have been able to witness a number
of my generations singing this meaningful poem of praise to the Almighty for the
bountiful goodness that he has bestowed upon us.
Since I am leading the singing that always accompanies this poem, the melody may be
somewhat out of tune but what it lacks in pitch it makes up for in enthusiasm and
volume. I have always thought about the words that make up this poem and the entire
concept that “Dayenu” communicates to us…

traditional jewish matzo

2023 Sale of Chometz for Passover

If possible, all chametz – food not acceptable during Pesach (Passover), or materials containing such unacceptable food – should be destroyed or given away before the holiday begins. Should this be impossible, the chametz may be stored in such a way that we are sure not to use it during the holiday and its actual ownership is transferred to a non-Jew until the holiday ends.

If you are not able to come to the synagogue personally to appoint Richard Kline as your agent for the sale of chametz, you may accomplish that by completing the form below by 9:00am Monday April 5th to be effective…