Wow! We made it! We’ve taken an account of our souls, sought forgiveness, reflected on just about everything —and then we sang, ate and danced. What a busy month it’s been!
I want to thank everyone who helped make the High Holidays and Chagim meaningful. Special thanks to Mayer Brenner, who organized all of the High Holiday services, and also to his team of volunteers — Bob Braun, Jennifer Low, Paul Miller, Aron Wolf, Sandra Braun, Fran Grossman, and Miriyam Glazer — who planned davening and drashot, assigned honors, compiled meaningful readings and designed a beautiful booklet for them.
Thank you to everyone who led services and shared Torah with us. They elevated our services and our prayer with their kavana and their beautiful voices.
Thank you to our Simchat Torah puppet show team of Ilana Grinblatt, Deborah Blum, Miriam Prum-Hess and dozens of children. Mazal tov to our honorees Robert Pflug and Henry Morgen.
And a very special thank you to Joel Elkins who honored the Library Minyan and the TBA community by sharing his father’s last Simchat Torah drash with us. We have been privileged to be the beneficiaries of Herschel’s wit for decades, and are moved and honored that he and Joel chose to continue the tradition even in Herschel’s final days.
— Sandra Lepson
Reflections of a Retired Gabbai
I have never been good at remembering chronologies or planning events to the precise date or time they happened. That is why I haven’t been able to determine exactly when I became a gabbai in the Library Minyan. It may have been in 2009, around the time my daughter Galya finished high school and moved to Israel. Or perhaps it was a year or two earlier. In any case, my motives for taking on this volunteer position do remain clear in my memory. To start, I had grown up in a secular home and on a secular kibbutz and only became a regular shul-goer in my early thirties. But even after 25+ years of regular shul attendance, I still lacked knowledge concerning the ins and outs of the Shabbat and holiday services. To put it simply, I thought becoming a gabbai would enable me to become more Jewishly competent.
I remember I was also looking for a new way to be of service to the Minyan; I’d been a layner and a davener since we joined the Minyan in 1988, and in the ‘90s I’d been the Torah and Haftorah scheduler for four years (back when it was one job!). By this time I was feeling ready to take on something new. With these considerations in mind I informed the gabbai coordinator at the time (Who was it? Help!) to add my name to the roster.
Fast-forward seven years or so: October 8 was my last Shabbat as a gabbai: my last day handing out aliyot, finding ark openers, thanking the daveners, welcoming newcomers, and making announcements from the bimah. So now that I am officially a retired gabbai, what can I say that I have learned from my years serving in this position? What have I gained?
First of all, I have certainly gained familiarity with the liturgy and choreography of the Shabbat service. The language and rhythm of the service are now dear friends, the kind with whom you can connect instantly even if you haven’t spoken in weeks. I can walk into the service at any point and know exactly where we are and what will come next. It feels easy and comfortable, like walking into my own home.
Obviously, the pleasures of being a gabbai also include having the chance to interact with so many members of the Minyan and to welcome guests, for example by offering them an aliyah. But in the course of my gabbai duties I discovered other, smaller satisfactions that I will admittedly miss. One of them is taking out the Torah before services and finding the place where the week’s reading begins, a process that has always reminded me of treasure hunts I engaged in as a child. Another is the quiet pleasure I found in being present at the start of services, before the “work” of the gabbai starts, when I could sit in peace and focus on the chanting and poetic language of psukei d’zimrah.
I don’t doubt that the time was right for me to retire from gabbai-hood and move on to something new, but I suspect that I will miss being part of the rotation. So don’t be surprised if, on some future Shabbat, you are sitting in services and I approach you, welcome you, and — in the role of guest gabbai — ask if you’d care to have an aliyah.
Building Habitat for Humanity
On Sunday, October 30, TBA members joined other individuals from Jewish institutions for a Habitat Build Day as part of the Jewish Coalition. A purposeful and exhausting day was experienced by the volunteers. We are looking forward to the next opportunity.
— Dianne Shershow
|The Library Minyan has been holding services for Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur since 1982 (some say 1981). Every year a large team has come together to accomplish the necessary feat of logistics and kavanah. Thank you and Yashar Kochachem to eveyone who gave their time and dedication this year:
Leaders of Services: Paul Miller, Rabbi Gail Labovitz, Michelle Stone, Rabbi Hillary Chorny, Aron Wolf, Norm Saiger, Bob Braun, Joel Grossman, Lida Baker, Marnie Alexis Friedman Stiglitz, and Rabbi David Saiger.
Torah Readers: Jennifer Low, Tove Sunshine, Rabbi Rachel Adler, Daniel Schrager, Yaacov Ben Tzvi, Yakov Broidy, and Barry Oppenheim.
Haftarah Readers: Barry Rosenblatt, Casey Stern, Lida Baker, and Bob Malina.
Speakers: Joel Grossman, Rabbi Adam Kligfeld, Rabbi Gail Labovitz, Lindsay Roller, Bob Braun, Rabbi Ari Lucas, Baruch Link, Teri Cohan Link, Dr. Michael Berenbaum, Michelle Wolf, Fran Grossman, Melissa Berenbaum, and Adam Weissman.
Shofar Team: Steve Stiglitz, Sandra Lepson, Henry Morgen, and Norm Garr.
Book of Readings and Meditations: Rabbi Miriyam Glazer and Sandra Braun.
Ark Coordinators: David Weissman, Ellen Ackerman, Fran Grossman, Sam Jason, Howard Fredman, and Jennifer Low.
Coordination of Honors: Sandra Braun and Fran Grossman.
Planning Committee: Bob Braun, Sandra Braun, Fran Grossman, Sandra Lepson, Bob Malina, Paul Miller, Alisa Shudovsky, and Aron Wolf.
In addition, I’d like to recognize and thank Barbara Breger for her many years of service, and to express regret that Dr. Steven Spiegel, who has been part of our Yom Kippur since the very beginning, was unable to participate this year.
Thank you for the opportunity to serve, and Shana Tovah to all!
— Mayer Brenner
More Social Action for 5777
Week of December 4. The Giving Spirit will sponsor various events for preparation, assembling, and delivery of survival kits for the homeless.
March 11. Operation PB&J. Following the Megillah reading, survival kits will be assembled, and the following day delivered to the homeless.
April 30. Jewish World Watch Walk to End Genocide.
Month of May. Big Sunday projects.
Please contact Dianne Shershow,323/314-3549, firstname.lastname@example.org
, if you have suggestions for additional projects and/or if you would like to play a role in planning and assisting.
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