Rosh HaShanah 5782 Greetings from Rabbi Dov Linzer
Focus on Your Breathing
Lately, I find myself thinking about breath.
We breathe--and punctuate those breaths--in order to make the distinct sounds of the shofar when we blow it on Rosh HaShanah. As Rosh HaShanah marks the first day of God’s Creation of the World, I also think about the Divine breath that “hovered over the water,” before the Divine speech brought light into the world. Breath also played a crucial role in the creation of the human, which according to tradition took place on the first day of Tishrei. That day, God blew the breath of life into Adam’s nostrils, and in doing so, transformed Adam from a lump of clay into a living being.
Our ability to breathe is essential to our ability to live. From a halakhic point of view, the ability to breathe may mark the exact line between life and death. And yet until recently, I think it is fair to say that most of us took the ability to breathe for granted.
Not anymore, however. We are now entering our second Rosh HaShanah since the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic. Individuals with COVID-19 often experience shortness of breath and severe difficulty while breathing, sometimes fatally so. The rest of us wear masks to prevent transmission of the virus, at times belaboring our breathing and making us highly conscious of our breath, of the air we breathe in and the air we breathe out. Our collected breath isn’t just at risk due to COVID-19. Fires, air pollution, and other harbingers of the climate crisis endanger our society’s ability as a whole to breathe healthy air. And we remain haunted by the tragic, repeated words uttered by George Floyd as his life was being choked out of him: “I can’t breathe.”
So starting this Rosh HaShanah, I ask that we all take a moment to simply focus on our breathing. Breathe in, breathe out.
Breathe in. When a spouse, or parent, or sibling, says something that pushes your buttons, pause. Now hold your breath; don’t respond right away.
Understand where it is coming from. Gain some distance. Breathe out. Air out how you are feeling, but do so in a way that gives space, that gives life, that allows the other to breathe as well.
Breathe in, and appreciate the life and the soul that God has given you. Breathe out, and consider how you can give both breath and life to others--those who gasp for air, who gasp for health, and for access to life-giving healthcare.
Breathe in, and experience the air entering our body, the air that surrounds us, and that fills our lungs and feeds our bodies. Breathe out, and consider what we will do to preserve that precious, precarious air, to protect our climate so that it continues to sustain and give life.
May this coming year be one filled with the breath of life. Let us remember to breathe in, to fill ourselves with those things which give us life, and to breathe out, to bring that life and spirit into the world at large, and to those closest to us.
Sincerely, Rabbi Dov Linzer
President & Rosh HaYeshiva, Norman & Tova Bulow Chair
Yeshivat Chovevei Torah
Kiddush is sponsored by Andre Jacobovitz and Liz Roth in honor of Andre & Liz's wedding anniversary + Andre's parents visiting from NJ. Mazel Tov and Welcome!
Click here if you would like to sponsor a kiddush in the future.
All attendees must now wear masks when indoors. We have masks by the door for those that need.
Covid Guidelines The summarized version of this stage of updates:
1. For now, services are remaining outdoors.
2. Vaccinated individuals do not need to wear masks outdoors (they must attest to vaccination status during sign up)
3. All kids can now attend services masked, sitting next to their parents. (non-mobile infants can still attend unmasked)
4. Unvaccinated people can take their masks off to eat and drink as long as they maintain 6 feet of distance.
5. Please stay 6 feet away from others if you are not vaccinated.
6. Parents don't need to stay 6 feet away from their kids.
7. Vaccinated travelers (domestic and international) should mask (and distance as feasible) for 7 days post travel at shul due to Delta.
We are excited to resume Shabbat Groups at Mercaz!
To start we'll be offering two different programs for children:
Tefilat Yeladim (ages 5-10): An abbreviated prayer service that contains songs, stories, and a word or activity about the Parasha of the week. Drop off.
Tot Shabbat (ages 18 months-4): Songs, prayers, and activities for younger children with a caregiver.
Each indoor room now has a HEPA filter and doors and windows will be open. All non-vaccinated people, over age 2, are required to wear masks and children will be required to stay 3 feet apart from each other. Per new recommendations, all individuals will need to wear masks indoors.
10:30 am - 12:00 (end of tefillah): Tefilat Yeladim in the sanctuary.
11:15 am - 12:00 (end of tefillah): Tot Shabbat outside in the garden area in front of the small house, directly to the north of Mercaz.
The playroom is a dedicated nursing/feeding/baby room with space for 3 adults. Most toys will be put away.
Kids are invited to return to services before Kiddush sitting with their parents.
Sign up for Shabbat Tefilah here. Adults and children 12 and older should each sign up separately and children under 12 can be included in the field for children. We appreciate your patience while we work on our sign-up and process.
We look forward to learning with you over the chagim! Stay tuned.
Wednesday night learning will resume after the Chagim!
Sidduur/Nusach Class with David Barak will resume after the Chagim!
Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur
Monday night 7 pm Hatarat Hadarim and Mincha at 7:20
Shacharit, Monday and Tuesday at 8:30 am
Shofar at approximately 11:30 am
Tuesday night Mincha at 7:20
Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur sign-ups are now open. For Rosh Hashana we will be meeting in a nearby parking lot, as we did last year. For Yom Kippur, we are meeting at Mercaz in our outdoor space.
Due to the greater numbers of attendees for RH and YK and based on King County recommendations, adults:
- if you are not vaccinated, you must wear a mask and maintain 6 feet distance
- if you are fully vaccinated, we strongly encourage and recommend wearing a mask
- if you are fully vaccinated and choose not to wear a mask, you must ensure 6 feet of distance between you and anyone outside your family pod
We will be having some children's programming and will send out that information on Sunday. We will also send an email to all who have signed up with any other specific details.
Shirah and Chauncy Bell invite you to come to their back deck to do tashlich on Tuesday. Thank you!
There will be two-time slots when we will gather as a group.
1. After Tuesday tefillah
2. 4:30 pm on Tuesday
You are welcome to go on your own on Tuesday as well.
6212 39th Ave. NE. Go down the steps to the right of the house to their back deck. The stream goes right under the deck so you can throw from either side.
Wednesday afternoon at Ravenna Eckstein Park
Hang out, learn Torah, Rabbi Avi will blow shofar
4:30 PM - 6:00 PM
And With Chabad and CSTL at View Ridge
Our membership is the beating heart of how we continue to thrive as an organization. We have a sliding scale membership at Mercaz. While it is not required to attend, it’s a great way to show your investment in our community.