The month of Elul, which begins on Sunday, is the month of preparation and connection that leads us into the High Holiday season.
In the Sephardi tradition, the special penitential prayers known as Selichot are recited very early in the morning every day during Elul. Ashkenazi Jews have the tradition of a midnight (or close to midnight) service the Saturday night, or two Saturday nights before Rosh HaShanah, and then every morning until then. The service is a musical and liturgical trigger for the days to come, introducing the themes of selichot through the passionate prayers that ask for forgiveness, modeled on Moses’ plea on behalf of the people after the episode of the Golden Calf.
This year, the first selichot service is on Saturday night September 8th and at Bonai Shalom, we have a special program before the service with the performance of an extraordinary new work by Dr. Michael Kagan called God’s Prayer: the Sacred Task of Living.
God’s Prayer is a recently published book of prayer, poetry, modern-day psalms. It expresses the Creator’s deep pain at the state of our planet and Her loving prayer that we pull back from the edge, clear up the mess and make this home into a better place for all. The message in this ‘prophetic vision’ is of critical importance to the well-being of human life on this planet. It is addressed particularly to followers of the Abrahamic faiths – Judaism, Christianity and Islam, but is relevant to people of all faiths. Kagan and his wife, Rabbi Ruth Gan Kagan, live in Jerusalem and are long-time friends of Congregation Bonai Shalom.
This dramatic and stirring presentation will be performed by Jan Kirschner, Charna Rosenholtz, Pamela Sherman and Rabbi Marc Soloway on Saturday September 8th from 8:45 pm to midnight. Here is the full schedule:
- 8.45pm – Havdalah
- 9pm – dramatic reading of “God’s Prayer”, followed by a discussion
- 10.30pm – Break and light refreshments
- 11pm – Selichot Service led by Jan Kirschner and Rabbi Marc, setting the liturgical mood for the season
This program is open to the community and will be held at Congregation Bonai Shalom, 1527 Cherryvale Road.