Selichot are penitential prayers said prior to the High Holidays and during other fast days throughout the year. With the underlying theme of forgiveness, Selichot services are observed differently in synagogue communities. Some may host a scholar-in-residence for the Shabbat prior to Rosh Hashanah. Others might show a movie prior to the Selichot Service itself; still others might have engaging conversations about what it means to truly forgive. Here are some of the highlights of Selichot services this weekend in the North Texas area.
- Plano Congregation Adat Chaverim Thespians will present a unique performance of The Gates are Closing by Merle Feld. Wendy Bruno Melissa Essler, Howard Hoffman, David Klein, Nancy Krangle, Tim Montgomery, Aaron Press, Michelle Sigle and Terry Sigle will present a dramatic reading of the original play. The program begins at 7:30 p.m.
- At Fort Worth Congregation Ahavath Sholom, the program will focus on preparing one’s soul for the High Holy Days. The shul choirs will perform. The program begins at 8:30 p.m. and the service will follow.
Congregation Beth Torah will host the Conservative community Selichot service Saturday, Sept. 5, with Rabbi Mike Comins, founder of the Torah Trek Center for Jewish Wilderness Spirituality.
Shearith Israel and Anshai Torah also are taking part in the program, which begins at 9:15 p.m. and is open to the community.
Rabbi Comins, who lives in Los Angeles, is the author of A Wild Faith: Jewish Ways into Wilderness, Wilderness Ways into Judaism, and Making Prayer Real: Leading Jewish Spiritual Voices on Why Prayer is Difficult and What to Do About It.
The Torah Trek Center, which was founded in 2001, links Judaism to environmentalism and outdoor spirituality.
On Saturday night Rabbi Comins will speak about “Prayer and Tshuvah — Returning to Your Best Self.”
He will also lead a spiritual walk and minyan Sunday morning at the Arbor Hills Nature Preserve in Plano. The walk begins at 8:30 a.m., and Beth Torah will provide siddurs, water and light refreshments.
Congregation Beth Torah is located at 720 W. Lookout Drive in Richardson, near the crossroads of Central Expressway and Bush Turnpike. For more information, call the synagogue at 972-234-1542.
- Congregation Nishmat Am will screen the documentary about Rabbi Avi Weiss, Righteous Rebel, at 9 p.m. followed by Selichot services at 10 p.m. According to the film’s website (www.righteousrebelfilm.com), “filmmaker Phil Schneider provides a compelling, insightful, and comprehensive look into Weiss’ extraordinary life, and how, as a result of his crusading activism and ‘speaking truth to power,’ he has inspired others to ‘show up, stand up, and speak up’ in times of crisis. Righteous Rebel also explores the softer side of Rabbi Weiss and his relentless commitment to create an environment of inclusion and dignity for his community.”
- Temple Emanu-El will observe Selichot with the Delores and Walter Neustadt Lecture featuring Dr. Alan Morinis, scholar-in-residence and founder and dean of The Mussar Institute.
Morinis will be at Temple Emanu-El throughout the weekend including 6:15 p.m. Shabbat services in the Olan Sanctuary; 9 a.m. Bea Kabler Chever Torah; 10:30 a.m. Shabbat morning services; and the 8:30 p.m. Havdallah, Selichot service and study session. Morinis is an active speaker and scholar on the teachings and practices of the Mussar tradition. For the past 16 years, he has devoted his career to Mussar, a journey recorded in the book Climbing Jacob’s Ladder (Broadway 2002). His guide to practice, Everyday Holiness: The Jewish Spiritual Path of Mussar, was published in 2007. His newest book, With Heart in Mind, was published in 2014. For more information, contact Becky Slakman, email@example.com.
- Temple Shalom will observe Selichot with a program at 7 p.m. followed by the Selichot service at 8:30 p.m. The program will feature the movie God in the Box. According to the film’s website, God in the Box is a documentary film, which explores the mystery and controversy behind what God looks like and means to Americans in the 21st century. In the midst of today’s fractured and confusing claims on God, the film asserts two basic questions: What does God mean to you? What does God look like to you?
The filmmakers embark on a cross-country journey with their small, mobile studio (and main character), The Box. They invite people to step inside and share what they see in their mind’s eye, and if possible, draw what God looks like to them. Along their journey, the filmmakers set The Box up on iconic street corners and diverse locations across America.
A remarkable collection of scholars, religious leaders and a mythologist help examine the material and put it into a historical and relevant context. The surprises and revelations about our current interpretations of God come to light, as small glimpses inside the minds of others help illuminate a much bigger picture.
For more information, contact Temple Shalom at 972-661-1810.
Tiferet Israel will observe Selichot beginning with refreshments and a program at 9 p.m., followed by the Selichot service at 11. The theme: “Attention God: Hearing Ourselves Opening HaShem’s Ears.” Join with Rabbi Shawn Zell will encourage you to take a closer look at “the 10 things we ask from God” in a lively discussion of the true meaning of Selichot.
Other congregations holding Selichot services:
- Beth-El, Beth Shalom, Beth Israel, see more information on page 8.
Ner Tamid, 7-9 p.m.
- Ohev Shalom, Sept. 6, 12 a.m., video; Selichot service, 1:25 a.m.
- Ohr HaTorah, Sept. 6, 12:10 a.m., shiur by Rabbi Fried; Selichot service, 1:10 a.m.
Kever Avot Services
Kever Avot is a memorial service conducted each year at Jewish cemeteries prior to visiting the grave or kever of their avot or ancestor. Most people visit parents, grandparents, or spouses and sometimes children. In some congregations, the custom to observe it is scheduled during the 10 days prior to the start of the Jewish New Year (Rosh Hashanah) and in others the custom is to hold the service between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. The Kever Avot service reminds us that we don’t live forever. It reminds us to use our time wisely.
Sunday, Sept. 6
- Congregation Nishmat Am (Nishmat Am Section of Hillcrest Memorial Park), 9:15 a.m.
- Congregation Beth Torah(Beth Torah Section of Hillcrest Memorial Park), 4 p.m.
- Tiferet Israel (Agudas Achim, Scyene Road) 10 a.m., (Dolphin Road), 11 a.m., (Tiferet Section of Hillcrest Memorial Park), 12:30 p.m.
- United Jewish Cemetery at Restland, 9:15 a.m.,
Rabbi Howard Wolk will conduct Memorial Services at the United Jewish Cemetery .The traditional Kever Avot readings and prayers are scheduled to run approximately 20-25 minutes. Families with loved ones buried in all gardens are welcome and encouraged to attend.
Pamphlets with readings in both Hebrew and English and head coverings will be available.
Sunday, Sept. 20
- Beth-El Congregation (Hebrew Rest Cemetery), 11:30 a.m.; (Greenwood Cemetery), 12:30 p.m.
- Congregation Ahavath Sholom(Ahavath Sholom Cemetery), 2 p.m.
- Congregation Shearith Israel (Dolphin Road), 10:30 a.m.; (Shearith Section of Hillcrest Memorial Park), 12 p.m.
- Temple Emanu-El (Temple Emanu-El Cemetery), 1 p.m.
- Temple Shalom (Temple Shalom Section of Hillcrest Memorial Park), 10 a.m.