On Sunday, September 10th (the 19th of Elul), we began the last full week of the waning year of 5777. As Shabbat ends this week, we will celebrate Havdalah and bring in Leil S’lichot – a Night of Penitent Prayers that is a deep part of Ashkenazi tradition in preparing for the Yamim Nora’im – the Days of Awe. The LMKehilla will do this, as we do most things, through a Renewal and Reconstructionist lens – a way of honoring and renewing tradition and reconstructing it to bring both original intent and modern meaning to its Judaic core value.
For many years, we have enjoyed turning toward the week in which we return to the very beginning – “head” of the year – Rosh haShanah, with the music of Bill Cohen set in a reflective container designed to assist our process of cheshbon hanefesh/soul accounting and t’shuvah/turning.
“Can classic songs made famous by Bob Dylan, Simon and Garfunkel, Mama Cass, and the 1960’s civil rights movement help Jews resolve to be better human beings in the year ahead?” Bill asks, and immediately responds, “I think the answer is ‘yes!'”
The S’lichot Coffeehouse and dessert potluck begins at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, September 16th (Elul 26) in the lounge at Covenant Presbyterian Church, 2070 Ridgecliff Road, 43221. The event is free and open to the entire community, and contributions to the vibrant Jewish alternative our LMKehilla provides are encouraged and greatly appreciated.
Bill will talk about many different ways we can be more compassionate, more sensitive, more free, and more action-oriented in the coming year. And he’ll punctuate each point with a well-known song.
“At this reflective time before Rosh Hashanah, when we look back over the past year, see our short-comings, and resolve to do better in the year ahead,” says Bill, “so many songs have lyrics that inspire and teach us. Examples include “Sounds of Silence” which warns us about materialism and a lack of communication; “Inch by Inch” reminds us of the spiritual demand to treat the Earth with respect; “Make Your Own Kind of Music” inspires us to follow our own path; “Wonderful World” reminds us to feel gratitude for all our blessings; and “Blowin’ in the Wind” reminds us to constantly seek justice and peace and to repair the world.” “Nearly all the songs in the program have links to Jewish musicians,” he adds playfully.
With its candlelit atmosphere and its serious and reflective theme, the coffeehouse is aimed at adults and mature teens. Attendees are encouraged to bring a dessert to share, a mug to be kind to the Earth, and, if you want to add your own light, a votive candle.