Closing out the High Holidays 2008

So, now that High Holidays are officially over, with the completion of Simchat Torah, I really didn’t want to let much time go by without talking about what an incredible experience I had at Temple Beth David, in Palm Beach Gardens.

I must start off by saying thanks to Cantor Ann Turnoff, for recommending me to Rose, the Education Director, at TBD.  Rose is just amazing.  She was so happy, upbeat, and positive, every single time I spoke to her.  I know she is a busy woman – but she always had time for me, and greeted me with a big smile – even over the phone!  The pleasure I received from my HH experience was a direct result of Rose’s passion and enthusiasm, as well as Rabbi Michael Singer, and Cantor Jennifer Kanarek.

First – I was pretty much given carte blance, to create a service that would be fun, upbeat, and engaging.  This was something I’ve been doing for 10 years, but, definitely not for a Conservative synagogue.  I was caught in a conflict between trying to keep my nusach “correct” and making it FUN.  And, even when I thought I had the last draft finished, Rose said – make it a little MORE fun!

So – I cut loose, and created a service that would engage my littlest congregants, as well as the parents.  It was so much fun!  On Rosh Hashanah, the kids acted out the story of Creation.  For the Hakafah, they had about 40 small Torahs, and all of my kids paraded around the room singing and dancing.

On Yom Kippur, we acted out the story of Jonah and the Whale.  We asked questions, and talked about forgiveness, appreciation, and making new promises for the coming year.  In all, I did 5 services, and while I’m still recovering from mental exhaustion, it was the most amazing experience of my life.

I cannot forget to thank Rabbi Singer and his wife and children, for inviting me to their home for both Erev Rosh Hashanah, as well as RH afternoon, on the 2nd day.  Their home was lovely, and it felt so good to be invited, and cared about by them.  Rose invited me to her daughter’s home on Erev Yom Kippur – and that was amazing, too.  Her daughter cooks the BEST challah I have ever tasted!  Her family was lovely, and again, they treated me so well – I felt like this was my family, too!

I also want to say thank you to the many TBD congregants who made me feel like I was at home.  On the second day of RH, after my service was finished, I went in to the main sanctuary, to listen to Rabbi’s sermon (which was also amazing) and they offered me an aliyah!!  That was so nice, and I am so appreciative to each and every one of the members and staff at TBD for including me.  I think the families really appreciated having a venue where they could worship with their children, and I think it’s so important for children to watch their parents worship as well.  Otherwise – how else will they learn?

I am hoping that TBD will become a home away from home for me.  I want to work with them, to help increase their family participation, and attract members with fun and exciting ways to worship.  If watching Rabbi Singer and Rose in action are any indication – we’ll be soaring to new heights, in 5769.

L’Shanah Tovah to everyone at TBD!  Thank you for making my High Holidays such a special experience!

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