Monday, October 04, 2010

High Holidays 5771 in Sonoma, CA
by Rabbi Irwin Keller

Congregation Ner Shalom in the heart of Sonoma County held Northern California's first Storahtelling over the holy days, led by Reb Irwin Keller, the congregation's spiritual leader. On Rosh Hashanah, Hagar came to life and the congregation explored what it feels like to be made nameless, and what happens when individuals or groups in our culture are rendered invisible or anonymous. This Storahtelling featured Ner Shalom's chantleader, Ellen Atzilah Solot.

On Yom Kippur, we had a most unusual maven - a goat, one awaiting determination of whether he'd be offered up in the Temple or sent into exile to the Wilderness of Azazel. The goat-maven, complete with a rather unsettling set of horns, led discussion on the two components of atonement that Torah seems to suggest: offering up and letting go. Even in our post-goat era, there is magic in pairing these two kinds of practices - the letting go (meditation, prayer, song, exercise?) and the offering up (community service, acts of kindness, a sense of surrender).

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