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To Our Beth El Family,
“Ashrei ha’am yodei t’rua Happy are the people who know the call of the shofar!” Thus begins the Shofar service on Rosh Hashana*. The blast of shofar is not the most pleasant sound. It is loud and piercing. So why does the Psalmist call the listener happy?
The shofar calls us to return. On a physical level that means returning to spend the holidays with loved ones and with community. That call brings us great joy. Indeed, we look forward to welcoming you home to Beth El for the holidays.
The shofar speaks on a spiritual level as well. Its broken notes, called shevarim, express in sounds beyond words the brokenness we see and feel in our world. Sometimes that is overwhelming. And yet, shevarim are surrounded by the whole note of the t’kia. The holidays invite us to consider the many blessings in our lives. They inspire us to reset our vision for the wholeness we seek in our world. In the face of great challenges, therefore, the shofar is the sound of hope. And to
that, we say, “Ashrei.”
Finally, for us this year, the shofar holds special meaning. In biblical times, the shofar was used to make special announcements. This year, the shofar will announce the coming of Beth El’s 100th birthday. That is reason enough to say, “Ashrei!” We are excited to approach this milestone. Over the coming year, we will share with you plans for celebrating. But the shofar is more than a birthday blast inviting us to party. It calls on each of us to do our part to secure our community’s future- to repair that which is broken, to strive for wholeness and
A new year awaits! May the shofar herald a year of blessing. We wish you and your loved ones a good, healthy, and peaceful New Year.
*note this year, the shofar will first be sounded on Sunday, not on Shabbat.