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Where are you?
A ship cannot make its way through the seas without a compass, and we cannot make our way through life without being asked at the turn of each and every year, ayeka, “Where are you?” That question, and our answer, create the moral agenda for our work in the year ahead. - Rabbi Marc Gellman
Rabbi Jesse Olitzky: Saying Sorry and Spiritual CPR

Continuing our You are Here series, Rabbi Olitzky discusses the words of Selichot, recited on Saturday night, and why our acknowledgement of our mistakes are said together as a community, rather than privately and individually.

See below for details about our Selichot service on September 12 at 8:30 pm.
Sacred Tribalism and Globalism
By Rabbi Ed Feinstein

We humans are programmed to live as tribes. In moments of great adversity, we return to that sensibility. We become a tribe again. A young friend of mine asked me a few weeks ago, what it was like in the days following the terrorist attack of Sept 11, 2001. "Must have been scary, huh?" Actually, it was remarkable. In the days following 9/11, all the boundaries that separated us were suddenly gone. We were no longer strangers to one another. For a brief and shining moment, we were a national community. Waiting in line at the bank or the supermarket, people talked with one another. There was a sense of solidarity, and a sense of courtesy. People were just nicer to each other. And when we sang, "God Bless America," we meant it. We felt it. There was something remarkable in the air. Click here to read the full sermon.

Rabbi Feinstein is senior rabbi of Valley Beth Shalom in Encino, CA and served as Congregation Beth El's 2020 scholar for the Rabbi Jehiel Orenstein Memorial Lecture.

Our guest High Holiday Chazan Rabbi Menachem Creditor sings “Hayom,” a prayer that caps off Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur services and asks God to strengthen, exalt, hear, and support us today. 
Try This At Home: Judging Others Favorably - Machri'o le'Chaf Zechut: Musar Spiritual Practice

We come naturally to being judgmental, but it takes a good deal of effort to develop a good eye. With that in mind, bring someone to mind about whom you tend to have a negative assessment. You don't like this person; you don't like what he or she does or how. Maybe this person even did something wrong in some way. Now for the hard part - it's your mission to find at least one good quality in this person. As a way to extend this practice beyond a simple thought exercise, place something distinctive in a pocket you can easily reach with your hand. It could be a pebble, a large coin, or something like that. When you become aware that judgment is coming into your mind, reach into your pocket to touch what you have placed there. Let that remind you to give the benefit of doubt. (With Heart in Mind by Alan Morinis, pg. 208-209)
Selichot Night Live
Saturday, September 12, 8:30 pm
This year we are joining an international lineup of Conservative synagogues to learn, sing and connect as a Jewish community ahead of the High Holidays. Over 60 rabbis and cantors will present, and a variety of Selichot services will be offered throughout the evening. For more information and to register, click here.
Congregation Beth El is an inclusive, egalitarian synagogue affiliated with United Synagogue for Conservative Judaism, serving Essex, Union, and Morris counties. We can be reached by calling 

Jesse M. Olitzky, Rabbi
Rachel A. Marder, Rabbi
Jason Silberfein, Executive Director
Danielle Weitz, Director, Thelma K. Reisman Preschool  
Rivka Nelson, Director of Religious Education
Karen Freeman-Pettis, Assistant Director
Molly Gimbel, Youth Program Director
Terry Pridgen, Coordinator of Maintenance Services

Jehiel Orenstein z"l, Rabbi Emeritus
For more information about Beth El membership, please contact
Membership Chairs, Yuval Brokman and Lisa Buber.