By Deb Kraus
Long before the Ann Arbor Reconstructionist Congregation became a congregation, we were a very participatory and leaderless Havurah. And as we entered our own rabbinic era, it was with the mindset that we would continue to be participatory, not only singing along, creating music and reading poetry, but in creating ritual and kavannot (intentions for prayers).
In the past year when we once again didn’t have our own rabbi to rely on, we all stepped up in amazing and fascinating ways, and as we enter into this new period with Rav Gavrielle at the helm, we are committed to continuing to offer opportunities for many voices, not only leader voices, to be heard.
I am once again recruiting volunteers for this year’s High Holiday services. The slots range from candle lighting and ark openings/closings to reading pre-picked out poetry to writing your own drash for a part of the service.
When people don’t volunteer I tend to choose people I know, which is a large percentage of the kahal, but by no means all of it. So, before I go and do that, and risk leaving great people out, I want to put out this call for volunteers. What I am hoping for is to hear from the people who don’t generally volunteer! Almost all the opportunities can be shared with others, like a partner or a friend, or some sort of affinity group, like maybe your mishpacha.
SO here goes!
First, here is the call for kavannot/drashes:
- The shofar service on Rosh Hashanah is made up of three sections: Malchuyot (kingship/majesty), Zichronot (remembrance) and Shofarot (awakenings). We want a drash for at least the Malchuyot section and would consider one for each other other two. These are short, no more than 3 minutes (Other than our Yizkor service, this is where I have learned more about people in our congregation than just about anywhere else. You get to tell a short story about something very meaningful to you).
- On Yom Kippur day, Rav Gabrielle would like someone to share on the topic of “Gratitude In a difficult time.” This can be a personal difficult time or ,you know, just the apocalyptic one we are living in. Up to you.
Second, I need lots and lots of readers for poetry. If you want to do this, send me the following info:
- When you will for sure be at services
- Do you want to read something more political? More emotional? More edgy? More intellectual? More meditative? We even have an almost irreverent one on Kol Nidrei….
Third, here are the opportunities for other honors:
- Candle lighting for Erev Rosh Hashanah
- Candle lighting for Erev Yom Kippur
- Lighting of memorial candle for Yom Kippur (if you have had a significant loss this year, this might feel like the place for you)
- Ark openings for Rosh Hashanah day (2 in total)
- Ark opening for Kol Nidrei (also if you want to hold the torah during the singing of the prayer, LMK)
- Ark openings for Yom Kippur day (one still unassigned)
- Ark openings for Neillah
- Hagba (lifting torah) and G’lilah (dressing torah) for both RH and YK days
- For havdallah at the end of Nei’llah, we need three volunteers, one to hold the candle, one to hold/pass the spices and one to raise the kiddish cup.
Fourth, does anyone want to lead an afternoon workshop on Yom Kippur on the topic of Jonah? This is what is the traditional haftarah for mincha, the afternoon service, and every now and then we like to revisit and reconstruct it. If not Jonah, does anyone want to present on something else? Keep in mind that we want to stay in a contemplative space, wrestling with a topic but not with each other.
Last, if anyone (who already knows how) wants to read 4 lines of Torah on Rosh Hashanah, because things are broken up differently due to it being on Shabbat, there is one portion unclaimed. It’s part of what I do on non-Shabbats, so I can do it, but I thought I’d offer it up to someone else.
I seriously think that’s it. I hope so anyway.
If you are interested in one of these honors, please do let me know. Each week I will let you know what’s still open, but wouldn’t it be less tedious for all of us if everyone volunteered by next MONDAY, August 28? Please contact me via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In addition to opportunities for service participation, we have a big signup sheet for behind the scenes helpers and greeters. We need everyone to sign up for at least one slot to make the High Holidays a success! Sign up Here!
Thanks in advance!