High Holyday Thanks


For Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur:

As the 10 Days of Awe begin to move into the joy of Sukkot and Simkhat Torah, we are filled with awe and gratitude at all the following did to usher in 5772 with power and grace, beauty and intensity. 

Thank you for creating more spacious accommodations, offering glorious and varied music – both vocal and instrumental,  amazing chanting and blessings, writing and speaking original prayer and poetry and brilliant engaging drashot,   re-envisioning and recreating parts of our service, reading from our mahzors with passion and intensity,  asking for much-needed contributions,  lifting and wrapping the Torah,  dancing around the congregation,  supplying flowers and snacks and lightbulbs,  setting up and cleaning up, and blowing the shofar that went straight to our hearts.

To all the musicians Marty Ehrlich and Roy Nathanson, what would we do without that hakafah?  And Marty, your original piece inspired by the Unetane tokef and your collaboration with Arthur was stunning.  Raul Rothblatt and Peter Weitzner you helped US deepen the Yizkor experience, and Yolanda Wu, what a comfort to hear the beautiful sounds of your violin on Yom Kippur afternoon.  Eve Sicular, thank you for opening Erev Rosh Hashana with our great Kolot chorus, and Mark Nathanson, thank you for bringing your energy to the shofar service.  Singers Lawson Shadburn, David Novack, Sarah Rivkin, Rachel Brook, Alison Rose Wonderland, Shalva Wise, and Dahlia Goldenberg, Suri Duitch, Lisa Zbar and Nancy Goldhill…Thuma Mina still rings in our ears, as do COUNTLESS other moments, with full group singing or duets, it was really a thrill.

Aram Rubenstein Gillis , thank you for the amazing Family Services co-led with Ora Wise and Tehilla Wise– you ARE that apple tree, always reaching for the stars. 

To Arthur Strimling and Tehillah Wise  – it was a real l’dor vador moment on Rosh Hashana, and you both rocked the congregation, dipping into your hearts to open ours to see and feel freshly the Akeddah and the Unatanetokef, the heart of these days.  And Sarra Alpert, you reminded us that the stories of Sarah and Hagar do not play second fiddle to any other story of family binding but rather provide deep, rich reminders of connections and disruptions that stir us as the New Year begins.

To Trisha Arlin– you created your Kesher v’Gesher prayer as a thread that wove these days together like a refrain we will not soon forget; some said they felt the sense of theme this year as never before.

Hannah Henderson-Charnow and Sally Charnow, what an extraordinary deep dive into the themes of the Shofar service – thank you!  And Sasha Novack and Eileen Blank, thank you both for bringing the shofar into the early evening service and the Family Service, and for strengthening the big blast as the gates closed on Yom Kippur.  Ellen Garvey and Michael Hopkins, thank you for beautiful readings and for making space to allow all of us to experience Tashlich in new ways.  And Rabbi Val Lieber, thank you (and the Jonah players - Jenny Aisenberg, Hannah Adler-Levine, Nancy Novack, Trisha Arlin and Arthur Strimling) for bringing us through the afternoon service with the words and stories of our tradition.

Dear Alicia Ostriker, you lifted us "even higher" and built a bridge of faith and doubt between the morning and the afternoon, between teshuva and relief, with laughter, insight, wisdom, and love.  All afternoon people kept telling me, "She was wonderful!"  We agree.

Thank you Julie Blumenfeld, Shalva Wise, Sarra Alpert, Lisa Zbar and Tehilla Wise for chanting Torah (even sometimes with no voice!), and to Stacey Simon and Bob Master for haftarot that were first introspective and second, a clarion call to action.  Thanks to our “blessers” Adrienne Fisher, Carolyn Fisher and Julia Fisher, Hannah Adler-Levine, and Shalva Wise, for beautiful chanting.  Thanks to Rob Vichnis and Jonathan Auerbach, Lisa Auerbach, Judith Kane, and Gary Eckstein for your powerful readings of important liturgical moments.  Thank you, Eddy Ehrlich, for bringing the Aleinu upon us on Erev Rosh Hashana.   

Thank you to Ira Yankwitt, John Adler and Hannah Adler-Levine, Mel King, Sarah Rivkin, Eric  Sloan, Cindy Greenberg, Betsy Biele, and Andrea Greenblatt for making the pitches that made people laugh and think and support Kolot generously, and to Cindy Greenberg for arranging the pitches and giving needed guidance to all and for being the guiding hand behind Kolot all year long.

Thank you to Donna Schneiderman, Mitchell Drach, and Abby Drach; Byron Kim, Lisa Sigal, and Adeline Kim; and Stacey Simon and Ruby Simon for lifting and wrapping the Torah with strength and aplomb.

And to you who make the space and all its accoutrements take shape so that we can have tables standing and the ark set up and candles at the ready, we are deeply grateful.  We hope you had some time for your own prayer, Lisa Auerbach, Heath Reynolds, Shira Sameroff, Cindy Menell and all those who brought and bought and schlepped and arranged.  Special thanks to Sherri Levine for those gorgeous flowers and to Damon Halperin and Yossi and Keith Halperin for the fabulous break fast and for effort beyond the call of duty.  

And finally, no one would have been able to hear anything without Joe Lordi, who gave us sound so that everyone could hear all the voices of our lives.

We are so thankful to the board of Kolot Chayeinu and their faith in us as clergy of this amazing community.

We hope you all know that this thank you note is merely that; a note could never fully express our feelings of gratitude.


For Sukkot:

The holydays and festivals are over, and we finally find a minute to write to thank you for all the work that went into making Sukkot at Kolot Chayeinu such a wonderful, engaging, often-relaxing festival.  

Our biggest thanks go to Mel King, who served as Sukkot chair this year, taking this on in addition to a very full-time job, organizing those who wanted to help, buying our lulav and etrog sets, receiving tables and chairs from the rental company, and so much more.  We send gratitude galore to Ronda Zawel, the former chair who gave so much of her time and effort, her building's basement and the bathroom in her apartment!   We cannot thank Al Terry and his staff enough for their work building the sukkah they created last year and then taking it down, nor could we have a  sukkah at all without the annual efforts of Jocelyn Cohen to  create, shape, and repair our amazing Story Sukkah walls.  So many people stopped to ask about it all and took pictures or just sat and enjoyed.  

Thanks to all -- so many! -- who volunteered to put up and take down the sukkah, to decorate it, to bring food for our first night potluck, to help with the Kitah Bet and Gimel class visits, to share food for Torah study or the board meeting in the sukkah.  Yossi Halperin, Kolot's custodian, was everywhere. helping, schlepping, cleaning, et al.   

And then there was Simkhat Torah:  Many thanks to Student Rabbi Scott Fox for coming up with great hakafot themes at the last minute, and to Scott and Eddy Ehrlich for making sure our Torah un-winding happened without incident!  Thrilled thanks to Patrick Farrell and Michael Winograd for their fabulous music, without which how could we dance so joyfully inside or outside?  Our legs were sore the next day, but our hearts were filled with the joy of the holiday, and we are still smiling as we write this.  


Rabbi Ellen Lippmann and Cantor Lisa B. Segal







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