Erev Rosh Hashanah arrives Sunday evening. Another year is ending. We will have a short service on Sunday at 7:15 PM. Our morning services are Monday and Tuesday starting with the preliminary service at 8:30 AM. Shachris is at 9:00 and the Torah service is at 10:00. We usually finish at about 1:00 or 1:15. It depends on how long Larry talks. Just kidding!!
There will be a few changes this year. First, Rabbi Brotsky will lead Shachris and Mussaf services. Rabbi Brotsky is the retired cantor/rabbi at New Light in Squirrel Hill. See the story from earlier this year at Brotsky. Second, we will be using a different Machzor this year. For decades we used the Silverman Machzor which you will recall has a black cover and some very flowery old English. Who can forget this line from the Sh’ma Koleynu, “Without Thee, God, there is no hope, our life an aimless evanescance”. Starting this year we will use the Birnbaum Machzor, thanks to Congregation Poale Zedek, who very generously donated to us 100 copies of the Machzor. This means we have to learn all new page numbers, but it will be worth it. A third change will be that Larry, in his new role as President, will be making the announcements and reading most of the English prayers.
In other news, the shul is finally doing something that we should have done a long time ago. This past week we ordered a chair lift so that those with difficulty getting up and down the steps can ride. We have a number of congregants who have difficulty navigating the stairs, most recently Al Brunwasser, Milt Zlotnik, and Izzy Horowitz. And I expect that Burt and Micki will need help soon. The chair will travel all the way from the social hall up to the sanctuary, with an intermediate stop at the front entrance of the shul. As you can imagine, it has some complex turns going up the staircase. All the pieces have to be custom-made. The installation is estimated for early December. And as you can imagine, this is expensive. We are very appreciative of two donors who provided the substantial down-payment. But we still need to raise the balance. Nuf said? We’ll be looking for your assistance.
A new year always provides an opportunity to suspend our bad habits and set a more positive course for the future. Will we have the willpower to do it? God willing. May your family be blessed with a good year.