Today is January 17, 2018 -
As many of you discovered I have enjoyed meeting you over this summer as I become more accustomed to my new home here in Old Bridge. I have also tried to reach out and telephone much of our membership whom I have not met during the summer months. Since this is our first year together I thought it might be helpful if I offered just a few suggestions that will hopefully enhance your High Holiday experience at Congregation Beth Ohr. I have been working this summer with Mark Chassen and members of the ritual committee to prepare for these Yamim Noraim and look forward to welcoming you at our synagogue.
One way in which the service will slightly change is that I will be providing some contemporary readings in English for our readers to share with the congregation at appropriate moments in the service. Most of these readings will come from the new Machzor edited by the Rabbinical Assembly, Machzor Lev Shalem that provides a wealth of information and inspirational thoughts. As you enter the sanctuary you will be handed a booklet of readings for the services. Additionally I would respectfully request that we try to maintain a technological-free zone in our sanctuary regarding the use of cell phones and smart phones. Technology has provided us with a great many ways to distract ourselves and yet one of the primary purposes of these holidays is to look inward, reflect upon one’s past and pray for one’s future. This can be accomplished far more easily if it is done in a serene environment.
As far as other suggestions for decorum are concerned I hope that you will find the services engaging enough to remain in the sanctuary when you are in synagogue. I know that the holidays are wonderful time to renew acquaintances and see old friends but please try to keep conversations and other possible interruptions to a minimum. Greeting fellow congregants should be done in the lobby.
The ritual committee respectfully requests the following guidelines regarding Honors that are offered for the Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. Please be aware that the times set for Honors are approximate. It will be helpful if you plan to arrive in the pews 20 minutes before the scheduled time for these honors. Please understand that if an Honor is missed we cannot guarantee that another one will be available during the Holidays. If you are unable to accept an Honor please let our committee know as soon as possible so that we can choose others to take your place. All of these suggestions are intended to enhance our experiences of the Holidays and should be received in that spirit. I am hopeful that there will be opportunities for us get to know each other during the holidays and that I will have the chance to properly wish you all a joyous, healthy and productive New Year.
Rabbi Joel S Mishkin