Wednesday, September 9, 2020 | 20 Elul 5780
These of course will be unique chagim. The shuls and rabbis are preparing hard, and now is a time to send love to every rabbi, to every cantor, to every leader of a minyan, to every leader of a shul. Elbow hugs to everyone.
Our own pivot has been parallel. Having trialed small Covid-safe retreats at Isabella Freedman, we are now planning to do small retreats for the chagim.
Normally, as you know, part of the essence of Hazon and of retreats at Isabella Freedman is a deep commitment to inclusive community. At Sukkahfest, for instance, there will typically be davening in many different flavors – “orthodox”; “trad egal”; “renewal”; “meditation” and so on. (I use quote marks because each word is only a short-hand and an approximation – often not a very good one – for the davening itself. C’est ca.)
This time around – for capacity reasons – we are stacking, as it were, horizontally rather than vertically. So Rosh Hashanah and Shabbat Shuva/Yom Kippur will be liberal orthodox, led by Rabbi Avram Mlotek and Yael Kornfeld; the first yontef of Sukkot will be led by Rav Claudia Kreiman, the senior rabbi of TBZ in Boston (and will be livecast by TBZ) and will be spirited traditional egalitarian; and Shmini Atzeret and Simchat Torah will be Renewal, led by Rabbi Jill Hammer, Shoshana Jedwab, Kohenet Sarah Chandler, and Rabbi Ezra Weinberg.
There are all sorts of protocols – davening outside (or in a big tent if raining); meals separately wrapped – there is indeed a 17-page (!) Covid waiver to sign. And we have had to put our prices up, with essentially no discounts, because our costs are very significant relative to the number of guests we can welcome.
That said – we’re excited. The people who have come for IF Getaways have loved it – and have felt safe, and been impressed with the procedures in place. So – Rosh Hashanah is now already sold out; but there are places available for Shabbat Shuva/Yom Kippur; the start of Sukkot and the end of Sukkot. Freedman is beautiful in September and October. And so if you would like to join us – click here.
The other thing I wanted to share is that, of course, this year’s chagim segue into the elections. Here’s how you can make a difference:
- In May, I talked about the Voter Participation Center. The data is clear it is the single best way to increase the vote for good this election. The Voter Participation Center works brilliantly to register and get out the vote of key demographics who are under represented in voting: people of color, young people, and single women. VPC is aiming to register 500,000 more new voters (they’ve registered 1.1 million already) – and when people are registered, they are overwhelmingly likely to vote. Your donation is one of the most cost-effective ways for you to strengthen our democracy. Liz and I gave them a gift in May and recently gave them a further gift, and I commend them to you very strongly. (VPC is a non-profit and donations are tax-deductible.)
- Dayenu is encouraging us all to help get out the vote, and info is here. And the Environmental Voting Project offers multiple ways to make sure people are registered to vote.
- Check out also the Big Send from Vote Forward. This is a latter-writing campaign, and it is easy for you to do, anytime, anyplace.
So: shabbat shalom and shana tova. May we blessed to do good, to be good… and to receive goodness.