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Yom Kippur - v02 - Locked For Captioning

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I am Ilana Gleicher-Bloom, the vision director of Mensch Academy and director of Family Programs at Mishkan, Chicago. You just heard and maybe sang along with some of our Mensch kids and families singing the prayer, Modeh Ani. When we created Mensch Academy four years ago, I thought a lot about rituals. Mensch Academy was brand new. We were starting it from the ground up, so we have no schedule and no set rituals in place that had to happen. Obviously, we're going to have a musical prayer, t’filah experience as part of Mensch Academy. This is Mishkan after all. But which prayers would we say and why? As I thought about this and talked it out with Rabbi Lauren and Rabbi Lizzie. I kept going back to the core values of Mensch Academy. My dream was that at its center, Mensch Academy would be a place where kids and families felt loved enough and safe enough to take risks and develop their own Jewish ideas and their own Jewish selves. Which prayers and rituals would help them get there? And then we moved to virtual. The Mensch team has spent the past few months thinking about how we adapt our rituals to the virtual space and how we create new ones. Now, more than ever, we need our rituals. It's easy to forget what day it is, what month it is, even what season it is. I have found that I need rituals to help mark the time for me and help remind me that I'm human. Help make me feel secure and safe. We started each session with the familiar that then lead into Modeh Ani and I watched kids faces in their Zoom squares, light up with recognition. They knew these prayers. They knew these voices. I watched as so many of the Mensch kids, some who rarely sing out loud in person, moved their mouth, singing out loud. In this difficult time, more than ever, we need rituals, and often they aren't even the same rituals we've had in the past but new ones. Things that make sense for us right now. At Mensch Academy, our team has been meeting over the past month, creating new rituals and new ways of being with kids that can help them feel loved and safe and supported, even online and even in a pandemic. Now is the time to continue our previous rituals while also creating new ones that help remind us and center us within our values. I invite you to take a deep breath, pause and think about your own routines and rituals. What routine do you already have that gives you the opportunity to pause and be grateful? I always mean to pause and drink my morning coffee quietly while reflecting on my day, gratitude. But I have kids in my house, and so that rarely happens. Instead, I happen to have a daily planner, and in it there are daily prompts asking me what I'm grateful for. And so every morning when I sit down at my desk, I see the planner there and I write my gratitude. It's not as beautiful and peaceful looking as I would like with the coffee image, but it's still something, and it works for me right now and that's what's important. If you feel comfortable, you could share in the chat something that helps you become present and grateful as you start your day. Shana Tova. We can take a seat. We pick up with the blessing for light, bottom of 127. I invite you to gather the four corners of your tzitzit around you. as we connect with the most powerful and important of all of the metaphors for what God is, who God is. The experience that God is, which is Ahavah Rabah, great big abundant powerful love. So go ahead and just chant after me. First two words of this blessing. Turn to the blessing 129. Morning. Shana Tova. A few weeks ago, my son started daycare again. And while we had thought he's gonna be so happy, he's gonna go, he's gonna see all his friends. He's gonna play with all these new toys. He's just gonna be thrilled. The truth was he protested going. He didn't want to get out of the car. And then when we got to the door, he didn't want to go inside, and we kind of didn't know what to do about this. He missed us. He wanted to hang out at home. He had gotten very used to with six months of hanging out with us, with his baby sister. He didn't wanna be in a new environment with lots of cool toys and all of his friends. And so the director of the daycare sent us a note and said it would be helpful if you could remind him that you too went through this once that you too were scared and went to school and didn't know what to expect, and then it was okay. It was great, that you learned, that you grew. Remind him that you went through this yourself and it will help him know that he can do it too. It's working. It's working. I think also, just time is working. What we are about to do now as we enter into Mi Kamokha. Which then leads right into the amidah, is we remind ourselves as a people that we can do hard things. Rabbi, Yitz Greenberg, who I mentioned at Rosh Hashanah, the rabbi who talks about the dream, how the Jewish people are carriers of a dream. And that dream is the Garden of Eden. You know, a world that looks and feels and smells and tastes like the Garden of Eden. A world of harmony and peace and coexistence between peoples between humanity and nature. That this is a dream that we have to hold in our mind at the very same time. The world as it could be at the very same time as we live in the world as it is. And he says, how is it that we, as a people could do this, can have the audacity to believe that a different world than the one that we're in, is possible? This is a staggering pedagogic challenge, he said. And so it requires daily reminders multiple times a day that we have done hard things before. That is what Mi Kamokha is here to take us into, to remind us that you, your people, your an- spiritual ancestors, your actual ancestors and also your spiritual lineage lets you know you can do it because it has been done before. Our people, as bad as Egypt was were somehow comfortable in our misery. We knew where our food was coming from. We knew where the roof over our heads was. We were terrified of the desert. We were terrified of leaving. The text says that we were so scared to that we were so scared of our circumstances. We were so oppressed by the labor and by our and by what we were going through that we couldn't even breathe. We couldn't even hear Moses saying there's a way through. It took plagues. It took darkness. It took death to somehow get us to believe that we could leave, that we could change reality. Michael Walzer, the historian and political commentary writer, says. Wherever you are, it is probably Egypt. Wherever you are, it is probably Egypt. And the only way through, and the only way out is to join hands and to start marching. Mi Kamokha is our reminder that we have done hard things and a reminder that we can stand up and join hands and start marching toward a new reality. That miracles are possible. Mamonities says a miracle isn't showing you what's impossible, a miracle actually, is just showing you what is possible. Holding the dream right in front of you and knowing we might not get there right away, but it is possible. Keep marching. So after Mi Kamokha, which we do in the tune of Bob Marley's Redemption Song. Because Bob Marley too was inspired by this vision of the exodus. Of knowing that hard things had been done before and could indeed redeem even the darkest evil of chattel slavery. That redemption is possible. And so Mi Kamokha is like our Redemption Song, and we sing it together, and then we will stand for the amidah where we locate all of those prayers for the world that we want to birth into existence, that is not actually an impossibility, but a possibility just waiting to be born. Four years ago at high holidays, I said a racist thing from the bima and it was so subtle that of the 1200 people who were there in the house that day, nobody noticed. And it was so obvious that there was one woman who got up, left your seat and walked into the lobby and started crying. And I only know this because there was somebody who saw her. Somebody whose wedding I've done a few months earlier who walked up to her and said, hey, are you okay? And this young woman, a professor, a black Jew from the East Coast, said, no, I'm not okay. I feel like the rabbi just erased me. And this person whose wedding I had done said, you know, I know the rabbi, could I let her know? And thankfully, um, this professor said, yes, you can let her know and that's how it came to pass that I got a chance to sit down with her and actually hear out of her mouth, the way in which I'd hurt her and anyone else in the room who was coming from the perspective of a person of color, and I was fully prepared to lose her over this comment. I had hurt her, and I had been incredibly insensitive. Admittedly, I didn't even realize it. 1200 people in the room didn't realize it, but that actually sort of drives the point home even further. Part of my shame in that moment was that Mishkan's whole claim to being a radically inclusive space felt like a sham. You know, it felt like it was a radically inclusive space for white Jews. So the seven communities of the Jewish Emergent Network over the past 30 days have been participating in an anti-racist curriculum designed by Yavilah McCoy, who is herself a modern Orthodox black Jewish diversity trainer. And in this 30 day challenge called Confessions of the Heart, taken from the liturgy of the high holidays, we've been watching short videos, listening to podcasts, reading a piece, reflecting, journaling on the ways in which we participate in white supremacy, knowingly and unknowingly, and not just white Jews, but also Jews of color and exploring together how we might grow more loving, more just and less racist in the year to come. Part of this curriculum is confession. So this Vidui, al cheit that we're about to go into is for the sins of racism. If racism, if the heartbeat of racism is denial than the heartbeat of anti racism, not just being neutral, actually being anti racist is confession. So this year, we, Mishkan, we signed the letter called Not Free to Desist, which was written by Jews of Color, who are leaders of Jewish organizations, and it commits us to taking active steps toward dismantling the white supremacy that exists even here in this radically inclusive Jewish community. To start off on a path of true diversity and equity to have more representation of the actual Jewish community. On our board, our staff and in our community, this isn't something that will happen by accident. It's something that will happen as we take active steps toward collectively admitting where we have missed the mark and how we will not repeat those mistakes in the future. So I'm gonna go ahead and read down this list and I invite you to join me. This is gonna be in English so you can read every single word of these out loud and like the other confessions, you know, it's gonna go fast, and you're not gonna have the time to really delve into the depth of each one of these. It's we're going more for quantity than quality. But that's what the hope and expectation that this will spark a process for you, will wake up within you awareness that you will follow up on over the course of this day and over the course of this year, you know. So as we go through these, as we strike our chest and say each one of these out loud, I invite you to think about what you may want to have a conversation with somebody who you trust later today or sometime next week about and see how we together may actually make our community in our world less racist in the coming year. For the sins that we have committed through conscious and unconscious racial bias, for the sins we have committed through hardening our hearts for the need for change, for the sins of colluding with racism, both openly and secretly, for the sins we have committed through uttering racist words for the sins we have committed through acts of racial micro aggression, for the sins we have committed through insisting on urgency and perfectionism as a measure of human value, I am saying al cheit. Let's just do this, um, without the tune. I'm Rabbi Steven. I was our first rabbinical intern back when Mishkan lived out of Rabbi Lizzie's trunk and my laptop. It is an honor to connect with each of you today, and amazing to see how much this community has grown. Today we're called to stand before the enormity of existence. The liturgy of Yom Kippur asks us to recognize our smallness, to see how we are but one part of a much larger world. We tend to live most of our lives, believing that we are in control of our own small corner of the universe. But this year in particular, we have seen how the best laid plans can change in an instant, how we don't really know what tomorrow might bring. And in fact, very little of the world is within our control. There is a lot I imagine we would like to see different, that we would like to see change for the better. We are a time in which there is so much brokenness in the world around us. And we're called both by our inner empathic impulse and our tradition to meet that brokenness with empathy, with justice, with the desire for change. But faced with the enormity of the problems ahead of us and recognizing today our own ability to control so little of the world, what do we do? We call out Avinu Malkeinu. Our parent, our sovereign. What is it possible for us to do? We are so small and the world is so big. How can I? How can you change it all? Here's the thing. It's not up to you to change it all. There is no way that you have the power or the responsibility to do everything. That's okay. So loosen your grip a little bit. Be gentle with yourself. Breathe. Let go of the idea that it is only up to you. We're not responsible for doing everything yet if you are alive right now, know that is because the universe has conspired in such a way to bring you into existence at this very moment. For there is only something that you can bring into the world. If you are here right now, it is because you are needed. There's some small act that only you can give. There's some small kindness that only you can offer. There is a uniqueness, a talent an ability that is only yours to give to this world in need. So set aside that ego that tells you that you need to do it all so you can create space to dig deeply into yourself and find that vital, bright, beautiful part of you. That unique and necessary thing that this world so desperately needs. We know, history of our people tells us that redemption comes as the cumulative effect of innumerable small acts. So while it may not be up to any one of us to change everything. Together, change is possible. I want to invite you to look through the Machzor if you have it in front of you. And if you don't, look through the prayers and the hopes and the dreams and the yearnings that you have been nursing quietly, journaling about, speaking about maybe even unaware of until this moment but now invited to place them into this sort of open arc, this plea, avinu malkeinu help us. Forgive us. Help us start again. Help us get through this. What is the prayer that's on your heart? That's on your lips? So take a few moments now, if you want to read through the Hebrew, or the English on these pages. We'll come back together in a few moments and join each other to sing them into the heavens. We're about to begin the Torah service. Like every other part of this service for this high holidays, it'll be a little bit different from the way we would be celebrating this if we were all together at the Vic. And there's some things that are going to be the same. We're going to take the Torahs out of the ark. We're gonna hug them, We're gonna love them. We're going to dance in the streets with them. We're going to celebrate with Torah. Jews over the ages have gone to great great lengths to be able to read and hear and, most importantly, study and internalize Torah. Torah is not just a book. It's not a scroll that has words written on it that we venerate like it's a god. You might think, you know, the way that we celebrate it and and hold it and look at it that we're worshiping Torah. We're not worshiping Torah. We're worshiping God. The unity that flows throughout the universe that connects all of us and that inspires wisdom within us nnd that has inspired the wisdom of our people transmitted through the ages in the form of Torah, not limited to but in this moment that sort of the embodiment that we hold. And so I want to invite you to you know, sort of reach out in the way that we might in a service, all in person and get close with your finger to the computer screen and reach out as the Torah is passing and and get a little kiss, get a little bit closer. The whole idea is that this is something that we as a people love and considered to be an expression of love from the divine and the closer we get to it, even as we socially distance as we dance and we sing the closer we get, the more inspired and the more hopeful and the stronger we become. So, uh, let's get this Torah service started. Yay Torah! Torah! Yay Torah! The Torah portion that we will read today details a list of sacrifices and actions that the high priest would undertake on Yom Kippur in the time of the temple, things like sprinkling blood and tying strings around goats, things that feels so far from our time and place today. And yet year after year, we still read these same portions. Not because we think that one year soon we're going to go back to tying a string on a goat and pushing it off a cliff. But because these things remind us that the work we're doing on Yom Kippur, the ethical soul searching, the connection that we make with ourselves and with others is actually not enough. We need the ritual. In addition to the personal actions that we take. Rituals don't always make sense to us. In fact, sometimes the best rituals are ones that specifically don't make sense because their role isn't to explain things in our lives. Their role is to elevate our lives, to give them meaning in a different way. So there's actually something very soothing about having a formulaic ritual to settle into. It helps us disconnect our thinking brains, the ones that we engage when we do teshuvah. When we connect to other people, when we do introspection and we beat our chests for our sins, ritual helps us move out of that type of engagement with the world and move into a deeper part of our brain, our emotive connective, primal experience. So as you read the readings today, I invite you to picture not just what's happening, but how it would transform you to be part of an experience like this, something that is visceral, something that is not understandable and something that has to be undertaken in community and know that we are recreating these rituals in small ways today by showing up on Yom Kippur so that all of the work that we've done over the last several weeks or hours becomes more powerful, it becomes an embodied experience, not just a memory of a thought, but a memory of an action that will then carry us to live differently in the coming year. So as we call these aliyots, if you feel like any of the groups that we mentioned speak to you, you say to yourself, yeah, I actually think that that applies to me, too. Stand up. Join for the aliyah. We'd love to know what you're doing, so share it in the chat. Also, just a brief time reminder that family services are set to start at 10:30. So do a quick time check and make sure that you click on that separate link if you're ready to join family services. Wouldn't it be great if there was a priest who would just do the work for us? Atone for us. Not how it works. For 2000 years we have been the priests of our lives. We are mamlekhet kohanim goy kadosh, the Kingdom of Priests and the holy nation tasked with atoning for ourselves, you know? And if it's a sin against God, so then making confession to God. But if it's a sin against another person, I got news for you as we have discussed, you know, no matter how many times you beat your chest in this service, that actually doesn't do the work. And, you know, what we learned from reading this parsha as you'll see is it's actually messy. You know, the messiness of animal slaughter described in the parsha is mirrored by the emotional messiness of atonement. You know, regret, reconciliation, teshuvah in our lives. And we get to do that now. You know, once upon a time there was a priest who did it, but we don't get that. Now we get to do it with and for one another. And that brings us to how we're gonna call aliyot this morning, and this first aliyah this first aliyah is for the people who are guiding and leading our community, our board and why and how is this connected to the parsha? Because a Jewish community, a spiritual community is an intentional community. It is a group of people who decide to be part of this little creation. You know, this vision of what the world could look like and here at Mishkan our mission is to help people find purpose and connection and inspiration and to create a community in which people could bring their whole selves. You know, with all of our messy differences into dialogue with and community with celebration with support for one another. And that's what we've been doing for nine years. Yaamdu May they stand, all of the members of Mishkan's board, including Mark Achler, our current board chair. Lisa Portnoy, our incoming board chair. Jane Charney, our secretary. Al Rosenberg, Hannah Bloom, Shira Marks, Adam Case, Avi Lewittes, Stephanie Cohen and Michael Kornick. L'aliyah harishona. When you create a new Jewish community, when you create anything, there is a sense of purpose to it. You know, there's a sense of this needs to exist for a reason. You know, otherwise we wouldn't be here. We'd all be somewhere else and our our raison d'être, our purpose is to create a space where people can bring their whole selves to something bigger than themselves. You know, a Jewish space where you can find a sense of what you're meant to do in the world, a purpose. Meaning where you confined connection to other people, to God, to your deeper why and finally to inspiration. And these people care so deeply about that mission. And I wanna give a loving shout out to Mark whose tenure as board chair is coming up and and say, you have been the- You have been the exemplary board chair. You have been the best board chair anybody could have imagined or hoped for in my position. And I'm sure, Rachel Cort, who is not here recording this with me, but I'm sure she would agree if she were, there's, ah, moment in the Torah where Moses is leading the Israelites into battle. And, um, every time Moses puts his hands in the air, the Israelites are able to fight and they're able to prevail. And when Moses' arms fall, they fail, as well. And so Aaron, Aaron, the high priest who you just learned about, comes and puts a rock next to Moses so he can sit there and hold up Moses' arms. And this is like the kind of board chair, Mark, that you have been. Somebody who is just incredibly supportive and not without moments of questioning and challenging, but always from a place of love and support. And I'm so grateful for your leadership these past three years and you have always made yourself available. You are a busy guy with a ton of other things going on, with an organization that you run, with other boards that you sit on. Um, you have never failed to make introductions to send us articles and mostly to answer the phone and, um, be present in the most palpable and meaningful ways for all of us. So I want to say thank you and Lisa, our treasurer, who is our incoming board chair, how excited we all are to see your star rise as our next board chair. And just to say that everybody on the board thank you from the bottom of our heart. We couldn't do this without you. Yaamdu Rhonda Abrams, Rachel Cort, Rabbi Deena Cowans, Ashley Donohue, Ilana Gleicher-Bloom, Hannah Rehak, Ellie Spitz, Aviva Stein. Rebecca Stevens, Rabbi Jeffs Stombaugh who is now with the Well in Detroit, Zach Weinberg, Rabbi Lauren Henderson, who is now at work Or Hadash in Atlanta. Anna Wolfe who is now in rabbinical school at JTS. Steven Chaitman, Arielle Dubowe, Shterna Goldbloom, Jordan Golding, Katy Ibur, Rachel Mylan, Amy Nadal, Essie Shachar-Hill and Rabbi Allison Tick Brill. Welcome. Come on up. And mostly just know how appreciated, valued and loved you are by so so many people whose lives you touch every day as you have graced and blessed this organization with your talent. Thank you. We, in creating this this thing this Jewish project called Mishkan Chicago, um, get to employ, get to have on our staff people whose training and talent comes from so many different backgrounds. That is actually quite astonishing. um, how seamlessly the Judaism that we create together reflects all of the different inputs of experience that people are bringing. And I just feel so lucky to get to learn from you from you, our staff, every single day. You come with backgrounds in community organizing and engagement work and Judaism and communications and education and anti racism and anti oppression work and theater. Oh, man, we've got a lot of theater happening at Mishkan Chicago right now and social work. And did I already say music? Um, and inclusion work and disability rights. And, um, conversion classes. And, and, and, and I just feel so, so moved and grateful that we, as a common project, get to build a Jewish community that reflects our values. And that reflects the kind of light that each one of you is capable of bringing into this world. And that Mishkan can be a platform for that. It's an honor. Yaamdu, come forward. Everybody who became a builder in this past Hebrew calendar year. L'aliyah hashenit. And if you've joined in the last five minutes or in the last couple of days and we didn't have the chance to invite you into this aliyah, I invite you to stand where you are and join this aliyah. So in this last year, almost 100 people became builders, people, couples, families, um, joined our community. This is against a backdrop of people really questioning the relationship to organized religion across the country, not just in the Jewish community but across religious traditions and in the midst of COVID. And we were really concerned. We thought it was possible when we went virtual that the draw, the draw of being part of a Jewish community, which is, you know, putting your arms around each other and taking care of each other in person and seeing each other and singing with each other. We we really thought that many of you would disappear, and not only didn't that happen, but more and more people, I think, realized that it's in these specific moments that we actually need each other more than we might have before. And, um, you started joining not from just Chicago, but from places like Washington, DC. And Liberty Texas. Um, this is an aliyah for all of you who stepped up in this past year to be known and to know, you know? When we went into quarantine, we invited builders to make phone calls to one another just to check in, and almost 200 of you stepped forward and said, how can I help? And out of those phone calls came grocery store runs and food drop offs and friendships and relationships that would not be possible if you hadn't stepped forward and said, here I am. Hineni. What can I do? Rely on me. We're living in a moment right now where you have options for how to experience spirituality. You can get online and for free. you know, watch videos, hear music, be taken on spiritual journeys that really will be quite effective in, you know, helping you tap that deep place of, you know, spiritually connection. And will ask nothing of you. Won't ask you to put your name in a field or put your credit card number in or tell anybody who you are, will just let you remain completely anonymous. They won't bother you. You know you can have that experience and not be bothered. And to become a builder at Mishkan is to want to be bothered or rather to want to not be anonymous in Jewish community, to want to be part of something, you know, to step forward and say hineni I'm here. What can I do? How can I contribute? And it's a really beautiful thing to see people actually doing that. And so if this sounds compelling to you, if you're watching this realizing, you know, you thought what you wanted was high holiday tickets and you come to high holidays and then go back to doing to Jewing however you Jewed before and then maybe like, based on what you've seen and based on a little of what I have and other people have said, maybe you actually want to be part of something bigger than yourself, that's going to ask something, that's going to demand something of you in this coming year. That's gonna involve you in the bigger project of building something that creates in the world a little corner, a little corner of the world where we live and practice, Jewish values in this particular way, in the style that is Mishkan Chicago. If you want to help build that, I invite you to join as a builder. Um, the information is in the chat. Just click it, do it. I guarantee you won't be sorry. And I can't wait to welcome you with open arms. Virtual open arms for right now. But open arms eventually. In the next aliyah We'll- we'll read about the continuation of the ritual of two goats. Spoiler alert: It doesn't end very well for the goat who had this string tied around it and was supposed to carry off all the sins of the people of Israel. On the flip side of the spectrum, this aliyah, we'd like to honor those people who've helped carry our community since we went virtual in March. People who have hosted things like virtual Shabbat dinners and anti racist book groups and meatless charcuterie board making and so much more. So please join us in honoring and thanking them for all that they've done to help carry this community. If you also have done something to help carry this community, whether that's showing up on a Friday night and singing your heart out in your own home or connecting with other people who need help, you're invited to also stand and join for this aliyah. Yaamdu everyone who helps carry this community wherever and whenever they are, l'aliyah ha'revi'it. I want to take a moment now to honor everyone who survived something this year. This is sort of a break in between aliyot. We have a blessing specifically for survival, for making it through something, you know? A harrowing experience may be a long journey. Um, maybe a car accident. You may be watching this and you know exactly who you are as I say that word survival. Making it through something. You know who you are. You survived COVID. You got a clean report from your oncologist after a year of treatment, maybe it'll take you a minute to realize you belong in this group. You know, you survived a rough pregnancy or you survived a failed pregnancy. You got out of an abusive relationship. You survived the death of someone who you really loved and relied on. I want to invite, you, anybody who has survived something this year to stand up to recognize yourself, your strength, your resilience, your power. If you're in the room with other people, so allow them to celebrate and recognize you as well. If you're alone, know, that we collectively will respond to you, as you say, the blessing recognizing having made it through something. So here's what's gonna happen. Anybody who this applies to, you stand, and you're gonna say this blessing along with me. We'll put- print the words on the screen and then for everybody who you know, this wasn't you this year. Um, lucky you. You get to affirm and witness and celebrate everyone for whom this is the case by responding, and we'll put those words on the screen as well. So I invite you to stand and say with me. And everybody else say amen. May the one who has been good to you continue to be good to you. Continue to bless you and grace you, amen. Okay, and now I want to take that energy of power and of strength and of survival and leverage it into our prayer for healing, into mishaberakh. So as you bring to mind now, people who are in need of this prayer, people in need of this blessing, people who we're praying for. I also wanna bring into the room prayer for the people who are caring for and supporting the people who were praying for. You know, when we say the Mishaberakh it is often because we're sort of at our wits end. We're at our our abilities end. We've done everything we can do. You know? We're not doctors, we can't prescribe medicine or do the surgery. Or do the physical or mental therapy necessary to help that person we're thinking about move from sickness into health until we think about them and call them and we check in on them and we pray for them. And something we can do is support people who are supporting them. Now I invite you to share people that you're thinking about. Healers and those who are in need of healing, as we go into our Mishaberakh. If you're thinking about somebody, and you want to stand to say their names, sort of even with greater power, say their name out into the world. So we're all holding all of those names and praying for every single one of their recovery. In this next aliyah we'll read about the ritual that the person who brought the goat off to Azazel undergoes in order to come back into the encampment. It feels like the Torah's way of recognizing that there are people out there getting their hands deep into it in order to make things happen for the entire community. So for this aliyah, we'd like to recognize and honor our organizing team. That small group of people who have been putting in the time, week after week and month after month to help us as a community and to help individuals in the Mishkan community walk the walk of justice. So we'd like to honor them with this aliyah, and we'd like to invite you to get more involved. In a few minutes, you'll hear a direct ask about one specific way that you can contribute to the campaigns that we've been working on. But we also want to ask you to fill out that spiritual pledge form, to let us know what excites you about making the world a better place, so that in the next year you could be like these people who take on important tasks for the community in order to do something bigger than each of us individually. Yaamdu the organizing team. L'aliyah ha'amisheet. Hi. My name is Elli Krandel. I've been a member of Mishkan since 2010 and I've been a part of the justice team since 2018. I wanted to take a minute today and talk to you about investing in your local ballot issues and local candidates during our upcoming election. It's really easy to get caught up in the many conversations about our national candidates, but the reality is that we have more power on local issues. Our voices are louder and more likely to be heard, and our individual vote makes a bigger impact. Change happens on a local level. This November, you specifically, folks living and voting in Illinois have the opportunity to take a really simple action that will have a concrete impact on the lives of all Illinoisans. After much hard work and organizing, we get to vote this November on a fair tax in Illinois. Right now, Illinois has a flat tax, which means that no matter your income level, you pay 4.95% of your income in taxes. With a fair tax, also known as a progressive tax or a graduated tax, individuals with a higher income will pay a higher tax, and individuals with a lower income will pay a lower tax. Seems fair, right? If past, 97% of Illinois will get a tax cut and only those making over $250,000 a year will pay more in taxes. Illinois has a huge budget deficit and for has for a long as I can remember, due to a revenue crisis. The fair tax will raise $3.4 billion yes, B, billion in revenue, which can support incredibly important causes such as housing, health care, education, mental health services and so much more. As a Chicagoan, it's been really devastating to see the ongoing effects of our budget crisis. As a staff member and an interim housing agency, I saw firsthand the impacts of the lack of affordable housing for people in need. We have no safety net for individuals with mental health needs, for people who have lost jobs, for people are really trying their best to survive in a system that is always against them, never for them. In this moment of uprising, as we recognize the pervasive racism throughout our country, both in our policies and in our hearts and minds, passing a fair tax is one small way we can begin to work towards true equity. We need money in our state budget if we're going to provide the critical services that all Illinoisans especially black and brown folks, have been denied for far too long. I urge you to check out the links on your screen to sign a fair tax pledge card saying that you will vote yes on the fair tax in November. To learn more about issues in your area and to learn about candidates locally that you might not know about. We have seen time and time again, how our local representatives and our local politicians make the key decisions that affect our everyday lives. No matter what issue you care about most, you have to start at the first level, though, which is voting. And now I invite everyone to share in the chat one local issue that you commit to learning about our championing this year. Thank you so much. Shana Tova. Thank you. yasher koach to all of our Torah readers. You are incredible. Bless you and thank you. Um, we're gonna turn now to our Haftara, Isaiah, before we go there, I wanna zoom out for a moment. We'll zoom back in. I promise. People have asked me where the name for this community Mishkan comes from. It has everything to do with our mission and our vision of what we as an organization do and what Judaism can do in the world. So I want to describe this on two levels. The first level is very mundane, but really important. When we held our first service nine years ago in Jacob's Living Room, we knew that we had a very diverse spread of backgrounds in the room and people who were comfortable with Hebrew and also really uncomfortable and unfamiliar with Hebrew. And so we wanted to figure out a name that would be accessible for the average person, whether or not they knew Hebrew, something that everybody could pronounce when reading it. Mishkan, Mishkan, Mishkan. Maybe you're a Hebrew speaker, Mishkan. All good. Anybody listening who knows what the Mishkan was knows what you're saying when you say that word. Mishka, ah, the Mishkan in the Torah. So okay, that's the first part. And it has to do with accessibility across backgrounds. The second thing, this is going a level deeper. What was the Mishkan in the Torah? What- What are we actually referring to? If you can imagine or maybe you've seen this when Cirque du Soleil comes to town and all of the trucks and all of the equipment and the poles and the fabric and the number of people and, um, the effort and the vision and the organization that it takes to create this traveling space in which once it is erected, the most incredible feats of human talent are on display and shared by thousands and thousands of people. That is what the Mishkan in the Torah was. It was this immense feat of human creativity and collaboration. And it wasn't that, you know, at the end of a show, you felt God's presence. It was that God's presence infused all of that work and all of that collaboration and creativity. And also, you know, what you experienced when you went in there. Um, but it was not just, you know, the work of one master designer, Moses. It was actually the collaboration of hundreds and hundreds thousands and thousands of people bringing the best of themselves contributing talent and also money to make this thing happen. That has been the founding ethos of Mishkan from the beginning. And, you know, if you were around in those early days, and some of you were, it was very much like a clown car would, you know, pull up to wherever we were having services, you know, a living room in Lakeview, Diversey Harbor. You know, once we moved into our office here in Ravenswood, we've now moved office space is three times in the same building, but a swarm of volunteers would, you know, gather around my Honda Civic hybrid may its memory be a blessing and, you know, take boxes of siddurim, of prayer books out of my car and a big sandwich board sign that said Mishkan and very often trays of food and blankets and bring it wherever we were going and we would set up and we would daven and we would eat and we would sing, and we would pray and then we'd sing more. And then at the end of the night, everybody would bring all the stuff back to my car, fold up shop, and we do it again next week. And there was a dynamism and a collaborative spirit to that that was actually reminiscent of the ancient Mishkan and I mentioned this now because nine years later, Even as we have 2000 square foot office space here in this building in Ravenswood, and we're a little more stable in terms of where we have service is week to week. We don't switch it up every single time. We still value that creative spark that is required to constantly be on the move, and we've actually honed in on it even more. You know, the more stable you are, the more necessary it is to consistently be experimenting and figuring out ways to innovate. Be creative. As I mentioned earlier, we have an army, a small army, nonetheless of theater people on our staff, writers and directors and actors and I don't think that's a coincidence. And I think about Moses. Moses, who did not actually design the Mishkan. He worked with a guy named Bezalel and Aholiab, and they were basically the artists in residence whose artistic and strategic vision created the structures that allowed the work and the spiritual energy to flow. So I mention all of that because over the years we have leaned on the talents of artists and one specifically, Rebecca Stevens, who comes with a design background and experience design and performance art. And she has helped us design spiritual experiences for the past six years. Seven years, um, she's worked with me to build games, a table games for Passover to make sure that hundreds of people attending a Seder aren't just sitting back being passively entertained by a reader at the front of the room, but are actively engaged. She's designed high holiday spiritual scavenger hunts, the mishmash groups, any small groups that we're doing right now, and all of our in person offerings have Rebecca's fingerprints on them. And she just joined our full time staff as director of strategy and design. She's basically our Bezalel and this is allowing for a deepening of that artistic sensibility across all of our work, including our family programs. We're really excited about this. So as we move into hearing the prophetic words of Isaiah, I know that's a little awkward of segue because he's not exactly a guy known in Jewish literature for the artfulness of his rhetoric or delivery. He's sort of he's a sort of like a guy with a megaphone on a soap box, you know, or or a person who's just saying things that nobody wants to hear, but that we all need to hear. And that's why the rabbis put him front and center on Yom Kippur, the most well attended synagogue day of the year is precisely because this guy Isaiah, has a message that is timeless, that is vital and that none of us really wants to encounter if we're being honest with ourselves because it could make us very uncomfortable. Yom Kippur is actually about experiencing discomfort, not performing it just by fasting and, you know, wearing white and abstaining from leather and sex and and food and drink. But by really encountering the things that make us uncomfortable and in order to do that and not run away, we need artfulness. And we need to think about how we integrate this into our lives. And that is why Rebecca is going to help unpack it with us. After Eli delivers this- delivers our Haftara. So thank you, Eli, for rendering Isaiah for us. And thank you, Rebecca, for helping us integrate what religion is really supposed to be about on experiential level to help transform us and transform the world. Here we go. I want to start by admitting that there's a kind of despair that settles in me during Yom Kippur. I am so far from being the person I think I should be. The world is so far from being a place that is good or kind or fair. I am complicit and how terrible the world is for so many. For all the talk of being grateful for the chance to reflect, for the chance to improve, I know the truth. It's hopeless. I really hate this feeling, and the problem is that this feeling has spilled out past the bounds of Yom Kippur onto the calendar. The west coast is locked inside as ash rains down. The Midwest is locked inside as the pandemic rises. The south evacuates as hurricanes surge. We don't even know how to begin to count our debt. More and more of us are beginning to arrive at what feels like a truth. It's hopeless. The environmental writer Eric Dean Wilson writes, whether we like it or not, a confrontation with our limits, our own demise, certainly. But for the moment, I mean the limits of our way of life, our nation and perhaps the global organization of humanity seems to be arriving quite soon. In response, I often hear variations on the question. Is there hope to solve the climate crisis? In all honesty when I hear that question, is there hope? I'm not sure I understand what's being asked. Wilson lingers on this question about our climate crisis. But it's also the question I land on mid morning on Yom Kippur. Is there hope? Wilson points out that this question often means- Do we get to continue on like this? Can we promise this is as bad as it will get? Will the cost be minimal? Well, will my people be safe? Will I be comfortable? One could plausibly reward this question asked. Can we still be optimistic about what happens next? Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, reminds us that historically, Jews haven't found much use for optimism. He writes, one of the most important distinctions I have learned in the course of reflection on Jewish history is the difference between optimism and hope. Knowing what we do of our past, no Jew could be an optimist, but Jews have never, despite a history of sometimes awesome suffering, given up hope. What precisely is hope without optimism? What does it look like to have hope in a world that we're not optimistic about? Sacks suggest those who hope refused to be comforted while the hoped for outcome is not yet reached. That is why, when the prophets saw evil in the world, they refused to be comforted. On Yom Kippur, we seemingly practice self denial, that is, to say, personal discomfort to atone for where we have missed the mark. The plan, more or less is that by occupying a state of discomfort for 25 hours, we reconcile with God. But then like clockwork every year the Prophet Isaiah storms into the service just as we've settled in to let us know that he knows we're up to and he's definitely not impressed. He asks, is this the fast I want? A day for people to starve their bodies? You call that a fast? A day when adonai will look upon you with favor Isaiah's blistering evaluation of our performative act of penance, which rings out in this beautiful translation by Rabbi Rachel Barenblat is followed by instructions that are as direct and clear as they are seemingly impossible. This is the fast I want. Unlock the chains of wickedness. Untie the knots of servitude. Let the oppressed to go free, their bonds broken. Share your bread with the hungry and welcome the homeless into your home. When you see the naked, clothe them, all people are your kin. Do not ignore them. This directive is not unfamiliar to us. It's general outline forms the backbone of most major religions. Do a better job taking care of others, particularly those less fortunate than you. We hear it every year. Most of us agreed and feel some degree of shame of how we don't dedicate more of our energy to healing the world. And we admire the people that do, and we go back to our busy, exhausting, complicated lives, trying to squeeze in some amount of contributing to make the world a better place. This year, as disaster rains down around us, I hear what Isaiah promises is on the other side of remaking the world. I hear him say, if we do this, then you will rebuild yourselves. You will restore foundations laid long ago. You will be known as the one who restores what has fallen. This year I hear this promise, and I think, oh, thank God someone has a plan. The thing about this plan is that it strikes us as unrealistic because it is so large and requires fundamental shifts and how we operate. But Isaiah suggests to us that our inward focus on Yom Kippur is misplaced and that we should think not at the individual level but at the collective one. Thinking collectively is massively difficult. Acting collectively is even harder. Solving homelessness, hunger, oppression, these things seem like good ideas, but too large to make any real progress on. And because they are so large, many of us don't take tangible steps towards making this progress. In an article published in the Atlantic in January of this year, Eitan Hersh, a professor of political science at Tufts University, shared the data from his 2018 survey on political engagement. In it, he determined that those who were college educated reported they spend more time on politics than other Americans do, but less than 2% of that time involves volunteering in political organizations. The rest has spent mostly on news consumption, 41% of the time. Discussion and debate 26% and contemplating politics a lot. 21%. Not everyone in our community went to college, and not everyone fits into the statistic of how they spend their time. But it's worth saying we're spending 88% of our time reading, watching, thinking and discussing. Sort of like how most of us are spending all of Yom Kippur. Isaiah would probably suggest we increase that 2% of action, at least by a few percentage points. Now, an obvious critique of this is that being involved in politics is not the only way to contribute to the common good. So I want to broaden my points to suggest that most of the time we think about prayer as reading, thinking and talking. And these days, watching screens. And just as it might help us to think about politics as actually comprised of action. Prayer might be comprised of action, as well. I say this in part because my own experience of prayer has so little to do with reading or speaking. I would tell you that I am not particularly religious and generally not observe it, which is true, except, of course, that I am the director of strategy and design at Mishkan Chicago and I spent all day and lately a lot of the night working on religious services. If it got to be a little late a little later in that dinner party and you asked me why I converted to Judaism, I would give you a bunch of reasons about love and marriage and family and culture and child rearing. And then if you press me, I would probably admit that when it came down to it, believing in God seems more interesting to me than simply ruling it out. I still haven't ruled it out, but I've never in my life had a conversation with God. Except, of course, nearly every holiday any of you have attended in the past five years here at Mishkan has had my attention on it. I do not think of myself as someone who prays, but I am always shaping how we pray together. To me. This is what the poet Mary Oliver is getting at when she says, I don't know exactly what a prayer is. I do know how to pay attention. On a day designated for prayer, I want to simply suggest that we pray all year with our attention on how we choose to focus it. This is what I think Isaiah might be kicking in the proverbial door to say. Our fast means nothing if our attention and by extension, our actions are in the wrong place. So I'll return to my question. Is there hope? Or maybe the better version of this question? What does it mean to hope in a world that we are not optimistic about? I'll answer like this. I have a child, a child born into lock down on April 3rd, born into a hospital so strained for resources at the time that I gave birth, that when I asked a doctor, will you have enough masks? He said to me, I hope so. Born at a moment when tests were so scarce that we entered the hospital untested and my husband was not allowed to leave my delivery room for four days. The first question many, many people asked me when I told them my son had arrived was - was your husband able to be there while you delivered? My child was born into 2020 and he'll only know the world going forward, not the world we grieve and wish we could- and wish we could return to in the heat of an extraordinarily hot summer as the sounds of ambulances mingled with the sounds of helicopters. As the pandemic, with the protests, I sat up late at night holding a newborn and thinking about what he will need to live in this world and what I might hope for him. What I have come up with is that he will need to understand that he is indelibly linked to other people, that his fate lies with theirs, that he must have both resilience and grace to not just survive the crises into which he is born, but to find meaning and joy within them. This, I think, is what Isaiah brings to us midway through this day. Our fate is linked to other people, people we choose and people we don't choose. It will be our ability, ability to act collectively, the ability to direct and sustain our attention that will bring the possibility of a liveable world, what version, we have no idea, in to view. May you be inscribed in the Book of Life. May each of us make it to this point next year. And if we do, may we be reminded that it will be because of what we choose to pay attention to between this day of fasting and the next. How we choose to pray, when we leave this day behind. I wish for you the sort of hope that you can build as a sukkah, a shelter. And- and invite in others from the storm that is raging. The art of losing seems like it shouldn't be hard to master. Death is, after all, the only thing guaranteed any of us in our lives and we will meet- we will meet death throughout our lives, always at the wrong time, even if it was our loved ones time. The art of losing seems like it shouldn't be too hard to master. Death is all around us. We're reading about it daily. We're reading about so much of it, perhaps, that our hearts have become somewhat numb to death. So you might think the art of losing shouldn't be hard to master except when it's not a statistic in the paper. But it's your mom, your dad, your sister, your brother, your child, your best friend. Then losing is indeed a disaster, even though the art of losing shouldn't be hard to master. And the only other people who understand this are people who share this sacred, painful fellowship of loss. Yizkor, this fellowship of loss. This is the time we set aside to formally include in our prayers and our davening, the family and friends that have died more expansively and at greater length than we do for Mourner's Kaddish during every other service. You may know this Ashkenazi custom, which is that if you have two living parents, you sit this service out because inevitably you too will join this sacred fellowship of loss. But until then, you should go call your mother or your father. You should enjoy who you have while you have them. And I want to say there's another theory, which is that mourners needs someone in the room to say amen as you're saying Kaddish. So it's not everyone's custom to sit this service out. So if you are here now and you intend to stay, maybe there's somebody else who you're remembering. You are welcome in this sacred fellowship of loss. No one chooses to be here. No one takes pleasure in joining this fellowship and thank God for the time and space that our tradition gives to honor those who shaped us so that we can cry and laugh and remember among the aspects of in person prayer that are the most challenging during these times, I think this mourning practice and specifically saying Kaddish in a minyan are the most challenging to do at a distance. So we're going to just have to bridge that distance with our hearts and our intentions wrapping our collective arms around each other and supporting each other in our shared losses, even at a distance. Knowing we are here with you, so many of us. Millions of Jews around the world today who share this fellowship of loss are here with you. So we recite yizkor on each of the major Jewish festivals. But I think the high holidays, you know, as we're thinking about our lives, you know, big picture and who we are and who shaped us and who loved us into being. I think we feel more connected to those who we've lost today and more people show up to Yom Kippur yizkor than at any other point in the year. Also, the rituals of the day bring us closer to the realm of the angels and the spirits. It almost feels like the veil between the world of the living and the world of the dead is a little more transparent. Grief is hard to pin down. Hard to describe, hard to predict, the author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie wrote recently in The New Yorker article called Notes on Grief about her father's death this summer. She said, we don't know how we will grieve until we grieve. I don't particularly like t-shirts, but I spent four hours on a customization website designing t-shirts to memorialize my father, trying out fonts and colors and images. On some, I put his initials and on others the Igbo words “omekannia” or “oyilinnia,” which are similar in meaning, both meaning her father's daughter but more exultant, more pride struck. Often. I pause to cry. Often I think of what he would think of them. He viewed my interest in fashion, especially less conventional choices, with an accepting amusement. He would approve of some t-shirts, I think. It is design as therapy, filling the silences I choose because I must spare my loved ones my endless, roiling thoughts. I must conceal how hard grief's iron clamp is. I finally understand why people get tattoos of those they have lost. The need to proclaim not merely the loss, but the love, the continuity. I am my father's daughter. It is an act of resistance and refusal. Grief telling you that it is over and your heart saying that it is not. Grief trying to shrink your love to the past and your heart saying that it is present. It does not matter whether I want to be changed because I am changed. Some of you are here to remember parents who watched over you and nursed you and stayed up late with you and cried with you about things that felt really important to you at the time and that they knew were insignificant in the grand scheme but they took seriously just to support you as a kid and as a teenager and as a young adult and as a parent they were proud of you, even though they sometimes didn't say it. And they made all manner of sacrifices for you, for which you will never be able to fully pay back or even to really, really acknowledge. Some of you are here to remember a wife or husband. A partner and maybe someone whom with whom you were truly united in hopes and pains and frustrations and failures and achievements. A person with whom you created a home, raised kids, raised pets, traveled, went to the theater and to movies, just sat around the house, some of you remembering siblings, brothers and sisters who shared the youthful adventures of childhood and adolescence and with whom you had ongoing relationships into adulthood as you began to care for your aging parents. Some of you are here to remember your children entrusted to you for far too brief a period of time, whom you cared for and whose lives were enriched by your love. You may be here to remember grand parents or uncles or aunts or cousins or other relatives, people who you loved who loved you. People who weren't perfect and in your remembering them today, you hold all of them. The good stuff and the stuff that you choose now to walk a different direction, in the other direction, away from. Without judgment, accepting what they gave you that was a gift. All of the people you're remembering today left a hole. And so in reciting El Maleh Rachamim, the memorial prayers for them. You bring them a little bit closer and you bring yourself a little bit closer to them. We say in this prayer u’tsror b’tsror ha’hayim. Let their memory be bound up in the bonds of the living. It's often translated as the bonds of eternal life, but that happens on its own. That their memory should be bound up in the bonds of the living which is to say in your memories, in your conversations, in your heart, that's the thing that we say out loud and we pray for, to make it so. I pray that memories and prayers for your loved ones today bring you comfort and sustain you as you bring them close and we say kaddish for them. So we're gonna give you some space now to say El Maleh Rachamim the memorial prayers, yourself. They are on page 250- and 251 in the machzor that we're using. The eit ratzon machzor. We'll also have the words up on the screen and then we'll sing these words together and then we'll say Kaddish. And then after Kaddish, you know, 50 of you sent in yizkor submissions, pictures and words about people who you're thinking about this year at yizkor. And so we'll sing Psalm 23 as we look at those memories, as we share those memories together. And if you didn't submit, I invite you now to, like, get your phone out and pull up pictures, you know, or pull a photo album down off the shelf and really use this time to bring their memories alive and to the fore. Grab a box of Kleenex on let's remember together. If we read the Bible carefully, we may notice that there's actually not a lot of difference between humans, God and angels. Humans, after all, are made in the image of God. We experience many of the same emotions. We care about a lot of the same things. The main thing that separates us, humanity, from the divine beings is that we are born and we will die. Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur prompt us to consider this difference very acutely and the Unetane Tokef prayer that we're about to say it's sort of the pinnacle of this consideration. It forces us to reckon with all of the ways that our bodies are vulnerable. That we may not live another year. And yet on Yom Kippur, we're supposed to be like angels. We're supposed to step out of some of our fleshy worldly concerns. We deny our body food and water and intimate relations with others so that we can be like the angels. We stand all day because angels are reportedly never able to sit. So, as we say the Unetane Tokef prayer today and then we move right into the Kedusha, we experience this drama in a little microcosm. We go from the depths of despair, the depths of considering our own mortality in to emulating the angels, singing their songs, in their way. It can be a really hard transition. It's really hard to go from thinking about how you or your loved ones might die, to considering an eternal life. So I want to share with you a quote from one of my favorite teachers, Rabbi Eliezer Diamond. He talks about this transition from considering our own earthly mortality to our connection to divinity and infinity, and he writes, Where does this leave us? In the end, while our time on Earth is brief, the length of our days and the manner of their end unknown, We, like God, are holy and we increase our own holiness and God's through a life of holiness. A metaphor that's helpful to me, he writes and I hope to you, is that of an orchestra playing a perpetual symphony. Each of us is given an instrument and notes to play. The violin perhaps, percussion, woodwinds. But the symphony is incomplete without our performance. We are given the gift of playing a few notes, a few bars and then someone else takes our part. But that brief period playing in the orchestra, of being part of the performance lifts us up and we transcend mortality and the prospect of ephemerality. As God's instruments, we count, we matter. We are temporary manifestations of an eternal reality. That is the promise and challenge of the Yamim Noraim, the high holidays. That is the promise and challenge of life itself. So, as we say, the Unetane Tokef, we list these ways in which we may not be written for another year of life. Someone we know may not be written for another year of life, and we remind ourselves that there are things we can do to change not what happens but the way we feel about it. I want to invite you to see yourself as part of the symphony, that what matters not is when we end. But how we spend the time before our end comes. Join us. Good morning. You're still here. Mazal tov! Congratulations. You are hardcore. If you're still here, you are so hard core. Pat yourself on the back. Oh, that feels good. Okay, I want to invite. I want to invite all of us right now, in the midst of, I know the fastest beginning to kick in. In the midst of a little bit of the discomfort on the inside, which I know, you know I talked about it last night. It's good for us. It pushes us. It's resistance training. Doing hard things inside teaches us do hard things on the outside. Let's give ourselves a little massage. If you haven't already taken that taken that hand, dug into some of those muscles in your shoulders do it with your right hand. I just recommended it so highly. If there's somebody else in the room who could do this for you, great. But, you know, I think the human body was designed with this in mind, with the idea of us being able to relieve a little bit of our own stress and tension. Yeah. Just give yourself a massage. Alright? Okay. Both hands. So, alright, I'm just gonna do some stretching. You're invited to follow what I'm doing here as I speak. Um, just reach up into the air if you want to stand up, great. I'm not going to stand up because that would then mean, um, making you nauseous, holding the computer and, you know, changing the angle or whatever. So I'm just going to stretch to the left and to the right and to breathe in. Breathing deeply to your rib cage, to your diaphragm. Right, like, food and water nourishes us but not nearly as much as breath. Breath gives us what we need to at least live for a couple days without food and water. So we can do this. You can do this. You can do this and just consider this discomfort that comes with the fast like the kind of hurts so good kind of discomfort. You're being in your stretch zone, your stretch zone like what we're doing. You know? We can't grow without stretching. You can't grow without stretching, and you know there's like the panic zone. There's the zone, where it's like you can't learn and you can't grow because you're just too scared to move. So that's not what we're talking about. And there's also your comfort zone, which is like, You're just so comfortable that that growth doesn't happen there either. But there's a zone in between. We don't often talk about your stretch zone, and that's I think, where Yom Kippur lives and in that stretch zone is the possibility for great joy. I wanted to make sure that we talked about that today because I know we live in intense times, and Yom Kippur is an intense day, and there is the possibility that you might think that this day is supposed to be sad somehow. It can be serious. It is very serious actually. It can feel somber, even. It's not sad per se, and the reason why is because, yes, while the knocking on our chest, the waking ourselves up, the naming for ourselves the ways in which we have fallen short and in which others have fallen short and we're still, you know, holding grudges, holding onto that burning coal, you know, that we're hoping one day to throw at them and in the meantime is burning a hole in our own hand? This, this is hard. It's- It's not easy stuff and the reason why we have a whole day devoted to it, you know, let alone every single amidah throughout the whole year where we knock on our heart just a little bit. Every single amidah where we knock on our heart just a little bit over the course of the year, three times a day. But on Yom Kippur, it's a whole day we devote to this because it's hard, but not because it's sad. It's actually the opposite. Embedded in this day is the possibility for transformation, for change, for growth, for stretching ourselves. And you know, it's an incredible thing what happens when we stretch. We can change. And so I want to invite you in a moment to stand up with us, to sing and to dance and to embody the joy that our tradition actually says this day is about. There are two most joyful days on the calendar, the Talmud says, one is Tu B'Av in the summer, and the other is Yom Kippur. There were days when young women would go out into the field and dress in white, in borrowed clothes, so that nobody would know who was rich and who was poor and go and find love, you know, and I just think like we don't know what this next year holds. I think there's a lot of fear, and I certainly feel it too. But that is all the more reason to harness and amplify and embody our joy. So join me and join us. Stand up. V'yitnu l'kha keter melukha and we acknowledge and we crown love, king, as the direction we want to move our transformation in. Hello. I'm Casper Ter Kuile, the author of the Power of Ritual and I'm so glad to be with you here today. You might have heard that the health and well being industry has grown to be a $4.2 trillion dollar business. The growth of boutique fitness gyms, of more and more complicated skincare rituals every morning and of course, the ever present diet world has contributed to the growth of this industry. And often the language that's used to describe it falls under the umbrella of self care. Now, despite its important radical roots of that term, we use it today to kind of describe the responsibility that we each have to solve our own problems, to make ourselves well, to make ourselves healthy and I find it a very dangerous idea. It's sort of the progressive version of the pull yourself up by your own bootstraps ideology because it reveals a core lie at the heart of American culture, which is the focus on individualism. It's nearly a sort of religious adherence that we have for individualism and it's why I'm so passionate about communal practices, rituals that bring us together, that we practice together, whether it's singing and dancing, eating together or indeed praying together, as you are about to do. So often, we practice these rituals not because they're tailored perfectly for the individual, but because by doing it together we share with one another something that we couldn't do just by ourselves. It breaks that lie that we can all make ourselves well. We need each other. We are one another's medicine and so often with communal practices what it can do is that it can help expose that the lies that we tell ourselves, whether we think we're better than everyone else. We're kind of brought down into humility or when we think we're worse than anyone else. More more shameful. It reminds us that we are inherently part of one another's world and cannot be excluded from it. So as you enter this time of communal prayer, I invite you to lean into these words not just for yourself, but as a gift to the people around you. Even if they're not sitting next to physically, the other people who were praying with you in this moment because I think these communal prayers help us remember the equally true story of community that sit next sits next to the one of individuality. I'm so grateful for all of you and for Mishkan and wish you every blessing here from the UK. All my best. Thank you. So I invite you to just strike your heart a little. You can also put a hand on your heart as we say each one of these words, each one of these words which we say, by the way, in the plural. Because we may not be guilty of all of these things but collectively we take care of each other and we help each other stay on the straight and narrow and when somebody trips and falls, we're all sort of responsible for helping each other up. And so we all say each one of these together because this is really all of us.

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Posted by: open on Sep 24, 2020

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