I've started inviting a few (more) minutes of controlled chaos into our home each day by organizing a daily shofar jam session.
There's a custom of blasting the shofar each day of the month leading up to Rosh HaShanah. Last year I embraced it as a personal practice. This year, like many parts of our lives, it's become a family affair.
At our house, the sound of the shofar includes some musical tones and also some yelling for a turn. My son likes to play the horn like a kazoo, and my daughter giggles with joy throughout. We're learning the different blasts, and some tricks for playing this ancient instrument.
What I love about this ritual is that the mitzvah is to hear the call of the shofar. Some horns can make beautiful sounds, but that alone is not quite enough.
Jewish wisdom instructs us to slow down, pay attention, and really listen to the call. The vibrations can stir our souls, if we let them.
The call of the shofar not only announces the new year but ideally wakes us up to life - to what's most precious in our lives. That takes time and repetition. That's why we need to practice during the days and weeks leading up to Rosh HaShanah.
As we enter the month of September and all the unknowns it holds, our spiritual work can also provide much-needed stress relief. Each day is an invitation to wake up. Each moment is an opportunity to slow down, pay attention, and hear what's calling out to us.
The rituals of the High Holy Days are truly gifts of wisdom, beauty and joy, especially this year when we need them the most. All of Sanctuary's High Holy Day offerings are listed in the boxes below, including an invitation to borrow a shofar and start your own jam sessions.
Looking forward to exploring together in the weeks ahead!
Because this year needs to be different. 6 Thursdays (starts this Thursday Sept 3) 7:00-8:30p on Zoom
Guided by Rabbi Alan Lew's book, we'll explore the rituals of the Jewish new year, and prepare together for this season of contemplation and inner change.
Family Nature Circle Because there are so many connections to find in nature. Rosh HaShanah (9/19), Yom Kippur (9/28) & Sukkot (10/10) A small cohort of families (kids ages 5-9) will join for 3 outdoor holiday celebrations at different nature centers in Westchester (within 30 mins of Larchmont).
Backyard Shofar Gatherings Because the sound of the shofar wakes us up to life. Sanctuary has shofars from Jerusalem ready to share with families who want to learn a new instrument and hold their own shofar services on Rosh HaShanah.
B Mitzvah Family Circle Launch Because we’re ready for a new way to experience this ritual. A small cohort of families will begin their 2-year journey of learning and exploration with an outdoor Rosh HaShanah celebration. We have room for 1-2 more families. Email email@example.com for more information.
Tashlich Gathering Because rivers teach us about change. Families with young children (babies to age 5) will gather to hear the sound of the shofar, listen to a story, and throw pebbles into the water on the 2nd Day of Rosh HaShanah.
Yom Kippur Outdoor Gathering Because we stand as one on this holiest of days. We’ll meet in nature for an afternoon of meditation, prayer and reflection.