West Bloomfield congregation hosts interactive family service for High Holy Days – The Oakland Press


The major Jewish holy days of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur fall during the month of Tishrei on the Hebrew calendar and are always 10 days apart.

This year, the Jewish New Year, Rosh Hashanah, is September 6-8, and the Day of Atonement, Yom Kippur, is September 15-16.

During the Great Holy Days, Jews celebrate with introspection and ask forgiveness from God. The 10 days between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur are reserved for looking within and awakening the soul to a fresh start in the New Year.

“This is a wake-up call that the time is right, you have 10 days to determine what you want to change over the coming year,” says Rabbi Shalom Kantor. “It is a metaphor for making a path for yourself that is true to your soul and to who you are.”

Kantor, who has been the rabbi of the B’Nai Moshe congregation in West Bloomfield for the past six years, says it’s a time of personal reflection to improve for the New Year. Throughout the year, it’s easy to get distracted and lose focus on your goals, Kantor says.

Rosh Hashanah is a joyous holiday celebrated by eating apples dipped in honey, symbolic of a sweet new year.

Yom Kippur is a darker holiday, celebrated by abstaining from eating or drinking for 25 hours. It is a day of cleansing and asking God for forgiveness of sins. Many people choose to wear white on this day, symbolic for cleansing and purifying the soul.

Both holidays are greeted with long services in the synagogue, mostly in Hebrew. These lengthy services can be difficult for children to understand and understand.

As far back as he can remember, Kantor said the B’Nai Moshe congregation offered family service for these two Drake Park vacations aimed at children.

Rosh Hashanah Family Service is at noon on September 7 and Yom Kippur Family Service is at 11 a.m. on September 16. All are welcome; masks will be required to attend.

“We have always provided family service which is an intergenerational opportunity to not only say prayers but also discuss and explore what they mean for children at different ages,” he says.

Traditional services are spoken almost entirely in Hebrew and to a high standard. Family service is streamlined to basic prayers without the added frills added for the holidays. This allows the children to focus on the root of the holiday and understand its meaning. There, not only are the prayers explained, but the children can also interact in skits and engage during the service.

“It allows children to think about what (the prayers) mean, how it can affect their life and how they would act in certain situations and how the holidays can help them become better people,” says Kantor.

This interactive service also allows children to ring the shofar for Rosh Hashanah. A shofar is a ram’s horn blown like a trumpet, which produces a very raw, non-tunable sound.

“It’s a basic sound, a call to the soul to wake up from the sleep it is in and realize that a new year is approaching,” Kantor says. “It reminds us of the screams of people who couldn’t be heard.”

The shofar is blown daily one month before the major holidays and is blown 100 times on Rosh Hashanah. Traditionally, there are different types of explosions, some longer and some shorter.

Children are allowed to bring their own shofar for a breather, as no one will be sharing a shofar during the pandemic.

Kantor says the most important thing for children to understand is that they are important.

“We want the kids to be a part of this and know that they have ownership and that God loves them,” he says.

For more information on the B’Nai Moshe congregation, visit bnaimoshe.org.

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