Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
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Mimi’s Music and Fun Group – (M,W,F) 11:00 am
Mimi’s Music and Fun Group – (M,W,F)
Sep 2 @ 11:00 am – 11:45 am
Show up with your little ones (birth to 4 years) and spend time with other parents. Join us to celebrate Havdalah on Mondays and as we prepare to welcome Shabbat on Fridays. Enjoy music, stories, puppets, … Continued
How to be an Antiracist Book Club (Young Adults) 6:00 pm
How to be an Antiracist Book Club (Young Adults)
Sep 2 @ 6:00 pm – 7:00 pm
Join Rabbi Jason Rodich to discuss the book, How to be an Antiracist, by Ibram X. Kendi. Reading a book will not end racism, but the idea that learning leads to action is a foundational … Continued
Soothe Your Soul: A Moment of Music 7:30 pm
Soothe Your Soul: A Moment of Music
Sep 2 @ 7:30 pm – 7:40 pm
Soothe Your Soul: A Moment of Music, with Marsha Attie. Facebook Live.
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The Book of Life Project 4:30 pm
The Book of Life Project
Sep 3 @ 4:30 pm – 5:30 pm
Join Rabbis Sydney Mintz; Yoshi Zweiback, Sr. Rabbi, Stephen S. Wise Temple in LA; and Matthew Gewritz, Sr. Rabbi, B’nai Jeshurun Synagogue in Short Hills, NJ, for this online study opportunity. Free. Registration required.
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Mimi’s Music and Fun Group – (M,W,F) 11:00 am
Mimi’s Music and Fun Group – (M,W,F)
Sep 4 @ 11:00 am – 11:45 am
Show up with your little ones (birth to 4 years) and spend time with other parents. Join us to celebrate Havdalah on Mondays and as we prepare to welcome Shabbat on Fridays. Enjoy music, stories, puppets, … Continued
One Shabbat Service (9/4/20) 6:00 pm
One Shabbat Service (9/4/20)
Sep 4 @ 6:00 pm – 6:45 pm
Shabbat service led by Rabbi Jonathan Singer and Cantor Arik Luck. Click here to watch on our website. Or click here to participate via Facebook Live, you don't have to join Facebook to participate. To follow … Continued
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Torah Study (with Rabbi Jonathan Singer – 9/5/20) 9:15 am
Torah Study (with Rabbi Jonathan Singer – 9/5/20)
Sep 5 @ 9:15 am – 10:15 am
Torah Study with Rabbi Jonathan Singer, followed by Mourner's Kaddish and Healing Prayer. To participate, click here.
Havdalah with Jonathan Bayer (9/5/20) 8:00 pm
Havdalah with Jonathan Bayer (9/5/20)
Sep 5 @ 8:00 pm – 8:30 pm
Havdalah with Jonathan Bayer on Facebook Live, click here.
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Mimi’s Music and Fun Group – (M,W,F) 11:00 am
Mimi’s Music and Fun Group – (M,W,F)
Sep 7 @ 11:00 am – 11:45 am
Show up with your little ones (birth to 4 years) and spend time with other parents. Join us to celebrate Havdalah on Mondays and as we prepare to welcome Shabbat on Fridays. Enjoy music, stories, puppets, … Continued
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Mimi’s Music and Fun Group – (M,W,F) 11:00 am
Mimi’s Music and Fun Group – (M,W,F)
Sep 9 @ 11:00 am – 11:45 am
Show up with your little ones (birth to 4 years) and spend time with other parents. Join us to celebrate Havdalah on Mondays and as we prepare to welcome Shabbat on Fridays. Enjoy music, stories, puppets, … Continued
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How to be an Antiracist Book Club (With Rabbi Beth Singer) 12:30 pm
How to be an Antiracist Book Club (With Rabbi Beth Singer)
Sep 10 @ 12:30 pm – 1:30 pm
Join Rabbi Beth Singer to discuss the book, How to be an Antiracist, by Ibram X. Kendi. Reading a book will not end racism, but the idea that learning leads to action is a foundational … Continued
The Book of Life Project 4:30 pm
The Book of Life Project
Sep 10 @ 4:30 pm – 5:30 pm
Join Rabbis Sydney Mintz; Yoshi Zweiback, Sr. Rabbi, Stephen S. Wise Temple in LA; and Matthew Gewritz, Sr. Rabbi, B’nai Jeshurun Synagogue in Short Hills, NJ, for this online study opportunity. Free. Registration required.
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Mimi’s Music and Fun Group – (M,W,F) 11:00 am
Mimi’s Music and Fun Group – (M,W,F)
Sep 11 @ 11:00 am – 11:45 am
Show up with your little ones (birth to 4 years) and spend time with other parents. Join us to celebrate Havdalah on Mondays and as we prepare to welcome Shabbat on Fridays. Enjoy music, stories, puppets, … Continued
One Shabbat Service (9/11/20) 6:00 pm
One Shabbat Service (9/11/20)
Sep 11 @ 6:00 pm – 6:45 pm
Shabbat service led by Rabbi Sydney Mintz and Cantor Marsha Attie. Click here to watch on our website. Or click here to participate via Facebook Live, you don't have to join Facebook to participate. For alternative … Continued
Late Shabbat Service (9/11/20) 7:30 pm
Late Shabbat Service (9/11/20)
Sep 11 @ 7:30 pm – 8:15 pm
Young Adult Late Shabbat Service with Rabbi Jason Rodich, Rabbi Sydney Mintz and Cantor Marsha Attie. Click here to participate via Facebook Live, our preferred platform – you don't have to join Facebook to participate.
September Late Shabbat Oneg 8:30 pm
September Late Shabbat Oneg
Sep 11 @ 8:30 pm – 10:00 pm
Late Shabbat ONEG is BACK – VIRTUALLY!Join us for Late Shabbat Oneg on an amazing new platform called Sidebar. Meet new people, join our themed rooms, and see old friends! This platform allows you to … Continued
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Torah Study (with Rabbi Jason Rodich – 9/12/20) 9:15 am
Torah Study (with Rabbi Jason Rodich – 9/12/20)
Sep 12 @ 9:15 am – 10:15 am
Torah Study with Rabbi Jason Rodich, followed by Mourner's Kaddish and Healing Prayer. To participate, click here.
Selichot Service: A Time To Embrace 8:00 pm
Selichot Service: A Time To Embrace
Sep 12 @ 8:00 pm – 9:00 pm
Selichot is traditionally a time when we offer penitential prayers, a marker of the season for reflection and forgiveness that we have now entered, and a preview of the continued t’shuvah (repentance) that is to … Continued
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The Tribe for Men: Mikvah in the Ocean at Dawn 2020 5:30 am
The Tribe for Men: Mikvah in the Ocean at Dawn 2020
Sep 13 @ 5:30 am – 8:00 am
The High Holy Days are a time where we open ourselves up and look deep inside our souls to examine who we have been and who we want to be. Have we accomplished all we … Continued
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Mimi’s Music and Fun Group – (M,W,F) 11:00 am
Mimi’s Music and Fun Group – (M,W,F)
Sep 14 @ 11:00 am – 11:45 am
Show up with your little ones (birth to 4 years) and spend time with other parents. Join us to celebrate Havdalah on Mondays and as we prepare to welcome Shabbat on Fridays. Enjoy music, stories, puppets, … Continued
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Mimi’s Music and Fun Group – (M,W,F) 11:00 am
Mimi’s Music and Fun Group – (M,W,F)
Sep 16 @ 11:00 am – 11:45 am
Show up with your little ones (birth to 4 years) and spend time with other parents. Join us to celebrate Havdalah on Mondays and as we prepare to welcome Shabbat on Fridays. Enjoy music, stories, puppets, … Continued
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The Book of Life Project 4:30 pm
The Book of Life Project
Sep 17 @ 4:30 pm – 5:30 pm
Join Rabbis Sydney Mintz; Yoshi Zweiback, Sr. Rabbi, Stephen S. Wise Temple in LA; and Matthew Gewritz, Sr. Rabbi, B’nai Jeshurun Synagogue in Short Hills, NJ, for this online study opportunity. Free. Registration required.
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High Holy Day 2020 Virtual Services
High Holy Day 2020 Virtual Services
Sep 18 all-day
To review a schedule of all of our High Holy Day services and programs, please visit: www.hhd.emanuelsf.org/services  
Mimi’s Music and Fun Group – (M,W,F) 11:00 am
Mimi’s Music and Fun Group – (M,W,F)
Sep 18 @ 11:00 am – 11:45 am
Show up with your little ones (birth to 4 years) and spend time with other parents. Join us to celebrate Havdalah on Mondays and as we prepare to welcome Shabbat on Fridays. Enjoy music, stories, puppets, … Continued
Shofars Across The Bay 11:00 am
Shofars Across The Bay
Sep 18 @ 11:00 am – 12:00 pm
Listen for the Shofar “blast” to awaken us to the new year! On Erev Rosh HaShanah Day, you might hear the Shofar on your street as we send out Shofar blowers to bring that unique … Continued
Team Shofar: Elementary Children & Families (Ag 6+) 5:00 pm
Team Shofar: Elementary Children & Families (Ag 6+)
Sep 18 @ 5:00 pm – 5:30 pm
Stream into this worship service, led in a participatory, educational style by our clergy and musicians. Led by Rabbi Ryan Bauer, Rabbi Jason Rodich and Jonathan BayerJOIN THE SERVICE
Under One Dome: Erev Rosh HaShanah Service 6:00 pm
Under One Dome: Erev Rosh HaShanah Service
Sep 18 @ 6:00 pm – 7:30 pm
Led by Rabbi Beth Singer and Rabbi Ryan Bauer; Sermon by Rabbi Sydney MintzJOIN THE SERVICE
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Apples & Honey: Service for children families (Ages 0-6) 9:00 am
Apples & Honey: Service for children families (Ages 0-6)
Sep 19 @ 9:00 am – 9:30 am
Family worship service led in a participatory, educational style by Rabbi Sarah Joselow Parris and Jonathan BayerJOIN THE SERVICE
Under One Dome: Rosh HaShanah Morning Service 10:00 am
Under One Dome: Rosh HaShanah Morning Service
Sep 19 @ 10:00 am – 11:30 am
Led by Rabbi Jonathan Singer and Rabbi Sarah Joselow Parris Sermon by Rabbi Jason RodichJOIN THE SERVICE
Return Again: Teen Led Rosh HaShanah Service 2:00 pm
Return Again: Teen Led Rosh HaShanah Service
Sep 19 @ 2:00 pm – 3:00 pm
Community service led by our teens and alumni who will inspire us in song, worship, poetry and prose Led by Cantor Marsha Attie and musical accompanistsJOIN THE SERVICE
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Second Day Service 10:00 am
Second Day Service
Sep 20 @ 10:00 am – 11:00 am
Noon Main Sanctuary service led by Rabbi Jonathan Singer, Rabbi Ryan Bauer and Cantor Arik Luck with accompanists. This will be a full Rosh HaShanah service with riveting readings, music and song, with full Shofar … Continued
Young Adult Park Hang 1:00 pm
Young Adult Park Hang
Sep 20 @ 1:00 pm – 2:30 pm
We are tired of being at home and are ready to mix and mingle (safely). With restrictions being lifted, we want to invite you to enjoy an afternoon in Alamo Square Park. This will be a … Continued
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Mimi’s Music and Fun Group – (M,W,F) 11:00 am
Mimi’s Music and Fun Group – (M,W,F)
Sep 21 @ 11:00 am – 11:45 am
Show up with your little ones (birth to 4 years) and spend time with other parents. Join us to celebrate Havdalah on Mondays and as we prepare to welcome Shabbat on Fridays. Enjoy music, stories, puppets, … Continued
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Mimi’s Music and Fun Group – (M,W,F) 11:00 am
Mimi’s Music and Fun Group – (M,W,F)
Sep 23 @ 11:00 am – 11:45 am
Show up with your little ones (birth to 4 years) and spend time with other parents. Join us to celebrate Havdalah on Mondays and as we prepare to welcome Shabbat on Fridays. Enjoy music, stories, puppets, … Continued
Teshuva and Tochecha with Rabbi Jason Rodich 12:00 pm
Teshuva and Tochecha with Rabbi Jason Rodich
Sep 23 @ 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm
Teshuva and Tochecha: Returning to Myself and Inviting My Beloveds to Return. Wednesday, September 23 at 12pm As we prepare for the High Holy Days, join Rabbi Rodich to explore Jewish thought about the customs of teshuva (often translated as "return" … Continued
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The Book of Life Project 4:30 pm
The Book of Life Project
Sep 24 @ 4:30 pm – 5:30 pm
Join Rabbis Sydney Mintz; Yoshi Zweiback, Sr. Rabbi, Stephen S. Wise Temple in LA; and Matthew Gewritz, Sr. Rabbi, B’nai Jeshurun Synagogue in Short Hills, NJ, for this online study opportunity. Free. Registration required.
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Mimi’s Music and Fun Group – (M,W,F) 11:00 am
Mimi’s Music and Fun Group – (M,W,F)
Sep 25 @ 11:00 am – 11:45 am
Show up with your little ones (birth to 4 years) and spend time with other parents. Join us to celebrate Havdalah on Mondays and as we prepare to welcome Shabbat on Fridays. Enjoy music, stories, puppets, … Continued
One Shabbat Service (9/25/20) 6:00 pm
One Shabbat Service (9/25/20)
Sep 25 @ 6:00 pm – 6:45 pm
Shabbat service led by Sarah Parris and Cantor Arik Luck. Rabbi Kushner will deliver a sermon on the subject of "Our Town." Click here to watch on our website. Or click here to participate via Facebook … Continued
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Back to Basics: Virtual Torah Study Rabbi Lawrence Kushner 10:00 am
Back to Basics: Virtual Torah Study Rabbi Lawrence Kushner
Sep 26 @ 10:00 am – 11:00 am
VIRTUAL TORAH: Back to Basics with Emanu-El Scholar, Rabbi Lawrence KushnerA drop-in, on-going weekly seminar. No prior Hebrew knowledge necessary. Weekly reading and discussion of a key Torah passage (about 10 verses) of easy Hebrew.10:00-11:00 am, Shabbat morningsStarts … Continued
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Team Shofar: Elementary Children & Families (Ag 6+) 5:00 pm
Team Shofar: Elementary Children & Families (Ag 6+)
Sep 27 @ 5:00 pm – 5:30 pm
Stream in to this worship service, in a participatory, educational style by our clergy and musicians.Led by Rabbi Jonathan Singer, Rabbi Sydney Mintz and Jonathan BayerJOIN THE SERVICE
Under One Dome: Kol Nidre Service 7:00 pm
Under One Dome: Kol Nidre Service
Sep 27 @ 7:00 pm – 8:30 pm
Led by Rabbi Jonathan Singer and Rabbi Sydney Mintz; Sermon by Rabbi Ryan BauerJOIN THE SERVICE
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The Best of the Best- Five Decades of Teaching and Preaching 8:45 am
The Best of the Best- Five Decades of Teaching and Preaching
Sep 28 @ 8:45 am – 9:45 am
There are three kinds of stories: “’Ha ha’ stories to amuse and entertain, ‘Ah ha’ stories for discovery of ideas and education, and ‘Ahhh’ stories, where the tales are sublime and connect the teller and listener … Continued
Apples & Honey: Service for children families (Ages 0-6) 9:00 am
Apples & Honey: Service for children families (Ages 0-6)
Sep 28 @ 9:00 am – 9:30 am
Family worship service led in a participatory, educational style. Led by Rabbi Sarah Joselow Parris and Jonathan Bayer.
Under One Dome: Yom Kippur Service 10:00 am
Under One Dome: Yom Kippur Service
Sep 28 @ 10:00 am – 11:30 am
Led by Rabbi Jason Rodich and Rabbi Ryan Bauer. Sermon by Rabbi Beth Singer 
Mimi’s Music and Fun Group – (M,W,F) 11:00 am
Mimi’s Music and Fun Group – (M,W,F)
Sep 28 @ 11:00 am – 11:45 am
Show up with your little ones (birth to 4 years) and spend time with other parents. Join us to celebrate Havdalah on Mondays and as we prepare to welcome Shabbat on Fridays. Enjoy music, stories, puppets, … Continued
Healing Service 12:30 pm
Healing Service
Sep 28 @ 12:30 pm – 2:00 pm
A live streamed opportunity led by Rabbi Beth Singer
The Seasons of Life: Judaism’s Take on Making Existence Holy 12:30 pm
The Seasons of Life: Judaism’s Take on Making Existence Holy
Sep 28 @ 12:30 pm – 1:30 pm
A Hasidic teaching by R. Shalom Noah Berzovsky, the Slonimer rebbe, from his Netivot Shalom, on how to lead a spiritual life. Led by Emanu-El Scholar, Rabbi Lawrence Kushner. We will closely study the original Hebrew text in English (!)Event Signup
Dr. Ibram X. Kendi – Yom Kippur Tzedek program 1:30 pm
Dr. Ibram X. Kendi – Yom Kippur Tzedek program
Sep 28 @ 1:30 pm – 2:45 pm
Since Congregation Emanu-El’s inception, we, as a community, have not turned away in the face of injustice. Rather, we have stepped into it, trying to do our part to bend our world towards justice. Racism has pervaded our nation since … Continued
Return Again: Teen Led Yom Kippur Service 2:00 pm
Return Again: Teen Led Yom Kippur Service
Sep 28 @ 2:00 pm – 3:00 pm
Community service led by our teens and alumni who will lead us in song, worship, poetry and prose. Led by Cantor Marsha Attie and musical accompanists
Afternoon Yom Kippur Service 3:00 pm
Afternoon Yom Kippur Service
Sep 28 @ 3:00 pm – 4:00 pm
Community mincha service livestreamed live from the Main Sanctuary with Rabbi Jonathan Singer, Cantor Arik Luck and accompanists. The service will include a riveting Jonah reading. 
Yom Kippur Meditation with Rabbi Ryan Bauer 4:00 pm
Yom Kippur Meditation with Rabbi Ryan Bauer
Sep 28 @ 4:00 pm – 5:00 pm
Join a guided meditation with Rabbi Ryan Bauer as we center ourselves and reflect on this Day of Atonement. Event Signup
Yizkor, Neilah and Havdalah 6:00 pm
Yizkor, Neilah and Havdalah
Sep 28 @ 6:00 pm – 7:15 pm
Yizkor Led by Rabbi Beth Singer and Rabbi Jason Rodich; Sermon by Rabbi Sarah Joselow Parris Neilah Led by all Emanu-El Clergy
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Mimi’s Music and Fun Group – (M,W,F) 11:00 am
Mimi’s Music and Fun Group – (M,W,F)
Sep 30 @ 11:00 am – 11:45 am
Show up with your little ones (birth to 4 years) and spend time with other parents. Join us to celebrate Havdalah on Mondays and as we prepare to welcome Shabbat on Fridays. Enjoy music, stories, puppets, … Continued
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SCHEDULE

Seeing the Face of God

Seeing the Face of God

HIGH HOLY DAY SERMON 2018/5779

Rabbi Beth Singer

It is so powerful to see all of us gathered together on this night of the Jewish New Year. During these gatherings, when we all stand for a prayer, we can imagine ourselves standing with our ancestors who all stood together at Sinai to receive God’s commandments.

Imagine that Sinai moment with me!

What exactly did they hear?

Some say that each one heard all 613 commandments! Some say they heard the 10 commandments. But still others say they only heard the first commandment: “ Anochi, I the Eternal, am Your God.”

One teaching, which I am going to focus on tonight, imagines that each person standing at Mt Sinai heard only the letter Aleph. Now, the Aleph is the first letter of the first commandment. So, they heard the Aleph. But the Aleph has no sound! The Aleph is silent.

Can you imagine how mystical that moment must have been?

Rabbi Kushner shares a Hasidic teaching that the Hebrew character Aleph itself is constructed of two other Hebrew letters: a diagonal Vav and 2 Yuds. 2

Aleph.

Rabbi Horowitz of Ropcyce (Rope-sitch) taught: Adonai, God’s name, starts with Aleph. “This,” he says, “hints at the face of a human being!”

What does this mean?

(Well) The two eyes resemble 2 letter Yuds. And the nose is a Vav.

In other words, on every Human face there is a letter Aleph—which stands for God’s name! (The Way into Jewish Mystical Tradition, Kushner).

When we gaze into someone’s countenance, their punim, whether the face of someone we love or someone who upsets us, Jewish tradition teaches us how to see the face of God!

How easy it is to see the Divine in the faces of those we love.

Seeing God’s face in someone who makes us feel uncomfortable?

This is one of the greatest lessons we can learn from the Torah.

Remember the drama between twins Esau and Jacob? The two brothers had been estranged for years. Then they grew up. Jacob wanted to come home. And to do so, he had no choice but to see his brother. 3

So, what does Jacob say when, after all these years and after all the fear, he finally faces his brother? He’s silent for a minute. Just like that silence at Mount Sinai when we all heard the Aleph. Then.

He looks at his brother and he says, “To see your face is like seeing the face of God.” (Genesis 33:10)

Can you imagine being able to look into the face of an adversary or even just of someone who unsettles us, and to see that special spark in them?.

You don’t even have to believe in God for this idea to become a transformative practice in your life.

But it can be difficult and painful. We can recognize what arises for us – fear, judgment, shame – but work to not allow these forces to rule us.

We all possess an inner critic and it’s good to sometimes challenge that voice from within that tells us to avoid people who are different than us.

I know this from my own experience. The day I started middle school, I recoiled and backed away from a deaf girl who tried to befriend 4

me. In that moment, I did not see the face of God in that girl. All I saw were her differences.

I feel like I, of all people, should have known better…I wish I had challenged my inner critic at that moment… because, as many of you know, I grew up with a sister with a stigma. The stigma of mental illness.

In childhood, my sister Lori was treated like a pariah everywhere we went, including our Temple. She lives with schizophrenia, bipolar disease, and paranoia. When you look into her face, you see the mental illness right away.

You can also see the 2 yuds and the Vav. Yet, growing up, too few people saw the face of God in Lori. Most only saw that she was different.

If you have experienced anything like this yourself or in your family, you know what I mean when I tell you how painful that was…for Lori, for me, for our family.

For any of us, it could be a family member with mental illness, like my sister. Or really any (ANY) perceived difference. Any “otherness.”

Difference 5

could be a family member with an addiction;

with a nonbinary gender identity; an LGBT family member

a learning difference;

a difficult marriage; a divorce; a medical condition; domestic abuse;

Or it could be one of our high school students who is not headed to college.

Or a family member who is socially awkward.

These are just a few examples.

The tendency of our culture is to respond to all these differences with the silence of an aleph.

But the Torah feeds our inner critic with an alternate response to silence. It’s just one word and it’s in that story we read tomorrow, on Rosh Hashana morning, about Abraham and the binding of Isaac.

Whenever called upon, Abraham always responds: “Hineyni,” which means, “Here I am.”

THIS can be our take-away on this New Year, 5779. But it’s not an easy take-away. Looking past difference is so hard. We are easily overcome by embarrassment, shame or fear.

Yet. These spiritual teachings of our tradition invite us to: 6

Look into each face—those we recognize with love and those that make us uncomfortable because they are different.

Look for that yud.yud.vav.

And respond,

Hineyni. Here I am. I see you, and I see the face of God.

When I have written about my sister’s mental illness, many of you have emailed me or talked to me in private–detailing a mental or emotional illness and its impact on you and your family. Now, some of us are very private and we always want to respect an individual’s privacy. But we want to balance privacy with creating community space here at Temple where it’s not only ok but holy and healing to share something personal.

This summer, I visited with one of my dearest friends on the East Coast. Somehow, in the most casual way he mentioned that his young adult son lives with an anxiety disorder. For a moment, I felt shock that I was just hearing this now. (I’d known this kid forever!)

But then –I stopped.

You know, my younger daughter has struggled with anxiety since high school and I had never shared that with this friend, or anyone else, for that matter. In fact, it’s something I rarely talk about even with all of you. 7

Why?

At first, I, myself, did not believe or understand that my daughter who is so accomplished would have this problem. And maybe I felt some shame and that something about my parenting was to blame. Everyone else’s kids seemed fine, so what was wrong with me and what was wrong with my kid?

Better to keep this to myself. So I understand our human tendencies to keep things hush hush.

But is keeping all of this to ourselves working? The suicides of public figures shook many of us to the core this past year. Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain ended their lives.

I heard from so many of you after these terrible losses.

It really didn’t matter if they were Jewish, or not. Each one had a private or semi-public struggle with depression. However depressed we thought we knew they were, we had no idea. Almost 50,000 Americans die by suicide each year. Suicide rates for teens keep rising. That’s why naming stigma can be a matter of life and death.

The great writer William Styron “compared the agony of mental 8

illness to that of a heart attack. Pain is pain, whether it is in the mind or the body. So why, he asked, were depressed people treated as pariahs?”

Imagine if, instead, we infuse the silence with the sound of our voice saying: Hineyni! Let’s talk about it. Let’s hear people’s stories of living with the stigma of mental illness, right here IN our Temple.

What if we were to talk openly about our new Mayor’s controversial ideas about moving mentally ill people off the streets to a place where they can get real help?

Imagine… if we partnered with JFCS–Jewish Family and Children’s Services, and others. And made mental illness awareness an annual part of our Teen curriculum.

Imagine…if our kids didn’t only feel that the Clergy are for Bat and Bar mitzvah, but came to us throughout their development to share their struggles?

Rabbi Alan Lew, of blessed memory, has this wonderful book I think we should all have called This is Real and You are Completely Unprepared. In it, he recalls that Sigmund Freud “introduced the single great idea…[that] the invisible is more important than the visible.” (Lew p. 7) 9

I think about everyone carrying a secret…a secret pain of any kind.

WE could make the Invisible visible.

A few months ago, a friend and I were catching up. She told me that her 8th grade son was on a class trip to Israel. Her son is so smart, but he often stands at the edges of peer groups. I told her about 8th grade groups Rabbi Rodich, Ariana and I take each year from Emanu-El to Los Angeles–the famed 8th Grade Disney Trip! I noted that sometimes there is a student who stand on the edges of the social circle, pretending to have a good time, but I see the wish to be part of the crowd.

Then, my friend told me a story I will never forget. She noted that, she, too was shy and awkward as a child. But here’s what’s amazing.

She said: “There was this very popular girl at my school. And for reasons I’ll never understand, she saw me and felt I would be a valuable part of her group. When she pulled me in, other kids treated me differently. All because of that one girl.”

Some of us need to be pulled in. And sometimes we forget that we have that power to pull others in. To be the one who sees God’s face in each 10

person.

These stories, these stigmas, are challenging. If you are a parent who feels that your child isn’t as socially accepted as other kids, that hurts.

If you feel like you can’t let people know about your addiction, that’s isolating.

If you have a hard time with mentally ill people, or are impacted by mental illness in your family, you are not alone!

But I tell you, picking up that practice of looking for the Holy in each person, that’s a starting place on this first day of the New Year.

Remember that midrash about all of us standing at Sinai and hearing the Aleph? Here’s a way to help you remember! I brought a prop! Our talented artist Sandy Cohen-Wynn hung new beautiful banners in the Martin Meyer Sanctuary. Every time you go there, look for this Aleph. Yud. Yud. Vav. Eye. Eye. Nose. Think about the person who distresses you. Look for this Aleph, look for that special spark on their face.

We all stood together at Sinai.

We quieted for just a moment to tune into something silent and 11

invisible. It’s the feeling we feel when we feel excluded. You hear no sound. You feel invisible. It’s the feeling we feel when we exclude. But it’s also the feeling, and the Presence of God when you say, “Hineyni, here I am.”

That’s the sound.

It’s the sound of silence and it’s the sound of the Sacred in each of us.

A New Year is here. We say, “Hineyni. Here I am. I see you and I see the face of God.” Sometimes we feel invisible. But at moments like this, we remember that we are part of something so much greater than ourselves. We turn to one another and we say, “to see your face is like seeing the face of God.”

Shana tova, may it be a sweet year.

UPCOMING EVENTS

SEE ALL