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Jewish Clergy, Faithful In Westport Prepare For High Holidays

Congregant Noah Axe of Congregation Shir Ami in Greenwich blasts the traditional shofar during the Rosh Hashanah service.
Congregant Noah Axe of Congregation Shir Ami in Greenwich blasts the traditional shofar during the Rosh Hashanah service. Photo Credit: Contributed

FAIRFIELD COUNTY, Conn. — As another sun-soaked summer slips away, Jewish clergy from across Fairfield County are preparing for the high holidays — the most holy days in the Jewish year — which begin next week.

Those of Jewish faith from across the county — and the world — will head to synagogues the evening of Sunday, Sept. 13, for Rosh Hashanah. Known as the Jewish New Year, the holiday literally means “head of the year.”

Rosh Hashanah continues on into the evening of Tuesday, Sept. 15.

During this fast-paced modern life, Rabbi Rachel Bearman of Temple B'nai Chaim in Georgetown said the high holidays allow her congregants to take a step back from their daily lives and reflect.

“The High Holy Days are a time of renewal and self-reflection,” Bearman said. “I look forward to these holidays because they provide a rare opportunity for all of us to step outside of our busy schedules and to spend time thinking about the most important aspects of our lives — our families, our ethics, and our beliefs.”

Bearman said she has fond memories of past high holidays. Her favorite from her childhood was "covertly" waving at her grandpa and dad when they were sitting with with clergy on the bimah, the raised platform from which services are led.

Bearman's memories continue with her time at Middlebury College, where she delivered the sermon during the evening service of Yom Kippur known as Kol Nidre.

“I spoke about the Jewish themes of the Harry Potter story,” Bearman said.

She said that people who are unfamiliar with the high holidays days might not know that one Jewish greeting for this time of year is, "Shanah tovah!" or "A good year!”.

The high holidays traditionally end with Yom Kippur, which begins Tuesday Sept. 22. Known as The Day of Atonement, members of the Jewish faith seek forgiveness that day for transgressions against others, whether committed deliberately or accidentally.

Yom Kippur continues into the evening of Wednesday, Sept. 23.

Jewish celebrations will continue a few weeks after the High Holidays with Sukkot, the fall harvest festival, which begins Sept. 27.

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