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Rabbi Joe's Weekly Message

Week of September 14

You Are All Here

Rabbi Joseph Hample

As your imperfect rabbi of more than two years, I am grateful for your patience, fascinated by your congregational culture, and anxious to serve you more effectively. I often fear that my strengths may not be your priorities. Rabbis are taught to speak, but you need me to listen. Rabbis are trained to do rituals the "right" way, but it's your synagogue, not mine. The right way is the way you prefer it.

In spite of my flaws, you keep coming to services, classes, and special occasions. At the High Holidays you will come in even larger numbers. You all stand this day before G-d, as the Torah portion says, old and young, men and women (Deuteronomy 29:9-10). You may be here gladly or reluctantly, for the prayers or for the pastries, to build tomorrow or to recall yesterday. But you're here.

"We are here" is not always an upbeat affirmation. We Are Here (Mir Zainen Do) was the song of the partisans who fought our people's desperate, mostly losing battle for survival under the Nazis. Ironically, it may be easier to feel Jewish under oppression than under freedom. But the advent of the religious New Year would be a good time to work on feeling Jewish. If not 5775, when?

My job is to make G-d real to you, but it's an uphill battle. In the Torah portion God admits, "I will hide My face" (Deuteronomy 31:17). The rabbi must be visible when G-d is not, in the pulpit and at community events and at random times and places around town. At this season of repentance, I apologize if I have not been available when you needed me. Please give me another chance.

And please remember that G-d's concealment is a trick of the light, a quirk of perspective. The haftarah (Prophetic reading) promises, "The Eternal takes delight in you... your G-d will rejoice over you" (Isaiah 62:4-5). G-d will be thrilled to see you at the High Holidays. Anywhere, of course: but with luck, at Tree of Life Congregation. Where else could apples and honey be so sweet?

Yizkor Book Announcement

The Yizkor Book for 2014 - 5775 will be coming out at the High Holidays. There are dedicatory pages. The donation schedule is: Front Inside cover--$200; Back inside cover--$160; Full page--$135; Half page--$85; Quarter Page--$60. Because of spacing concerns, we may need to limit the number of names per dedicatory page.

For the regular dedicatory list of family and friends, the cost per name for TOL members is $12; the cost per name for non-members is $20.

The names of those who passed away during the previous year, and those on our memorial boards, are automatically listed without charge. However, annual listings must be renewed; those names do not roll over.

Send all submissions and donations to:

Sylvia L. Cooper
102 Forest Drive
Morgantown, WV 26505

Make all checks payable to Tree of Life.

The absolute deadline for inclusion in the Yizkor Book is September 3. Names received after that deadline will be listed on an insert.

High Holiday Schedule of Services, 2014

Wednesday, Sept. 10, 7:00-9:00 PM
Bimah for Dummies class
Saturday, Sept. 20, 7:00-10:00 PM
S'lichot program & movie (The Quarrel) and prayer service
Wednesday, Sept. 24, 7:30 PM
Erev Rosh ha-Shanah & Kiddush after service
Thursday, Sept. 25
Rosh ha-Shanah Morning
Children's service 9:15-10:00 AM
Service 10:00 AM-12:00 PM
Tashlich 12:30 PM
Friday, Sept. 26 10:00 AM-12:00 PM
Rosh ha-Shanah Second Day
Friday, Oct. 3, 7:30 PM
Kol Nidrei service
Saturday, Oct. 4
Yom Kippur
Children's service 9:15-10:00 AM
Morning service begins 10:00 AM
Break 12:30 PM
Rabbi's Tish 2:30-3:30 PM
Music & Reading of names/memorial 3:30-4:30 PM
Afternoon Service 4:30 PM
Yizkor 6:00 PM
N'ilah 7:00 PM
Havdalah 7:45 PM
Break-the-Fast after Havdalah
Friday, Oct. 10, 6:30-8:30 PM
Pizza in the Hut & Sukkot service
Friday, Oct. 17 6:00-8:30 PM
Family Shabbat & Simchat Torah service

High Holiday Schedule in PDF to print

Coming Events

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