High Holy Days Q&A

Q:  Do I need tickets to come to your High Holy Day services?  
Nope, nada, zip. Just show up. We accept contributions to support our work as a holy community, but you don't need to pay to get in the door. Why? Because we believe that when we pay for tickets, we think of ourselves as consumers--like a theater--and we expect an excellent production. At Shir Tikvah, we believe we're building a holy community together that is based on our relationships with each other, our spiritual longing, our hopes to make the world more whole and just. We believe that everyone has the capacity to be generous because generosity is a spiritual practice. We give, as Torah teaches, nadiv libo--because our hearts are moved and our souls are stirred.


Q:  What is the suggested donation for non-members?  (What if I am only attending services on one holiday?  What about for children - do I need to pay for them too?  What if I just want to come check it out, want to bring a guest, etc.?)  
  Our suggested household donation is $180. However, this is most definitely not set in stone. We believe in the spiritual practice of generosity, based on the Biblical reading of "Nadiv Libo"--every person whose "heart is moved" gives to build our holy community. Some people can give $36. Fantastic! Others can afford $180. Terrific! Some can afford $360 or $540 or $1,800 or more. Fabulous! Every amount is a vital contribution to our holy community, is tax deductible, and is appreciated. Best of all, it is gift made because your heart was moved. How awesome is that? What it boils down to is that $180 is the amount that reflects supporting the actual cost of programming. However, never let cost be a factor in your participation – all are welcome!

 What are the services like? 
A:  We keep our services aligned with fairly traditional High Holy Day liturgy. While there is still a good deal of Hebrew, we make it a point to make the services accessible and easy to follow. In this way strive to accommodate people from a variety of backgrounds to make all feel welcome and provide a meaningful experience for everyone, regardless of where one might fall on the Jewish spectrum.

Q: What else can I do to help?  
A:  Many hands make light work. Feel free to hop right in if you see volunteers or staff moving tables or setting things up. We operate (or “cooperate”) in a very family-style way. Remember – you’re our guests – so you’re under no obligation. However, if you’d like to – just ask whomever is around and dig right in!

Q:  Is this a good time to join Shir Tikvah as a member? 
Yes! We'd be delighted to have you join us! In fact, the High Holy Days are a great time within the Jewish calendar to renew your personal goals and commitment to yourself by examining if that is right for you in the coming year. There will be Membership Committee members at the front entrance who are able to answer your questions. Additionally, Rabbis Latz, Rappaport, and Rosenberg, and John Humleker, along with any board member are happy to chat with you further if you’d like to make an appointment with us.

Q:  How can I get the most out of the High Holiday experience? (I'm concerned because I don't know anyone/I don't have a strong Jewish background)  
A:  In our Shir Tikvah community, YOU have the power to make the High Holy Days however rich of an experience as you desire. Rabbi Michael Adam Latz suggests some key ways you can do this:

1.   Say hello & introduce yourself to people that are greeters at the front door, the people are friendly, and like to talk to folks.

2.   Sing. Even if you don't know the words. Singing unlocks part of our hearts & souls. Think of it as a work out for the lungs & the spirit.

3.   Make a donation in any amount. It feels good to contribute when we can. 

4.   Bring food on Yom Kippur day because people are hungry and it is good to start off the new year doing something generous. 

5.   C’mon up when the rabbi invites people up who are guests! You don't have to know all the words. But you'll see that there are a lot of new people just like you. 

6.   Come back again. One individual service can be inspiring and compelling. The deep soul work happens over the course of the High Holy Days. Come for as much as you can. You'll be amazed by the transformation!

7.   Take a break. If you find yourself feeling stuck, go for a walk outside. Stretch your body. Some of us need to move around a bit. That's great! 

8.   Turn off your cell phone or other devices that will distract you from being present. 

9.   Take us up on at least one invitation. The rabbis and Wendy and a variety of leaders on the bimah (pulpit) will make several invitations to get involved: everything from helping us clean up the sanctuary to build the Sukkah to join the congregation.

10. Breathe. You don't have to get it all right away. As Rabbi Latz says, "I've been leading High Holy Day services for 20 years & every year I gain some new insight about the tradition and my own soul."

11.Practice Gratitude. Lots of people put a lot of time an effort into make these worship servicesundefinedchoir members, Torah readers, speakers, the staff, volunteers. When you have a chance, thank them for their contribution; focusing on all the gifts people share to make these Days of Awe is inspiring

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