NORTH ADAMS -- The Days of Awe - also known as the High Holidays - begin every year on the first day of the lunar month of Tishri. This year, that corresponds with the evening of Wednesday, Sept. 4, on the Gregorian calendar. Once again, the Congregation Beth Israel community welcomes everyone to their services during the Days of Awe. No tickets are required.
High Holiday services at CBI will be led by Rabbi Rachel Barenblat of Lanesborough, accompanied by cantorial soloist and rabbinic student David Curiel of Jamaica Plain.
"We'll actually start a few days before Tishri, and kick off the Days of Awe with Selichot," explains Barenblat, "a service of poems and prayers designed to get us in the holiday spirit and thinking about our process of teshuvah, which means repentance, or return, in the sense of returning to God."
Selichot services will be held at 8 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 31, following a havdalah ritual which will formally end Shabbat (the Sabbath) that evening.
The community will offer services on both days of Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year (Wednesday evening, Sept. 4, Thursday morning, Sept. 5 and Thursday evening and Friday morning services). During Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, services will be held on the evening of Friday, Sept. 13, and the morning, afternoon and evening of Saturday, Sept. 14.
On the afternoon of Yom Kippur, there will also be a free mussar (ethical enrichment) class taught by Rabbi Pam Wax, and gentle Yom Kippur yoga led by Ann Clark Killam.
"The Days of Awe are a crescendo of emotional and spiritual intensity which we hope to sustain from the very beginning of Selichot straight through the Ne'ilah service at the end of Yom Kippur," said Barenblat. "We will once again offer this abundance of physical, emotional, intellectual and spiritual richness for free to all who want to join us.
"CBI does not use tickets during the Days of Awe. These weeks are the pinnacle of the Jewish spiritual year, and our doors are open to all who yearn to connect with tradition, with community and with God. We are committed to this inclusiveness as a core congregational value."
Congregation Beth Israel, 53 Lois St., was founded in 1893 and is northern Berkshire County's only synagogue. It is affiliated with the Union for Reform Judaism.
For more information: 413-663-5830 or cbiweb.org.