(Courtesy of YIS) For the past four years, the Young Israel of Scarsdale (YIS) has offered members and guests an alternative option for High Holiday services: explanatory services that explain both the “hows” and the whys” of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur prayers. This year, however, the exploration won’t stop after break fast. In fact, under the leadership of Rabbi Jonathan Morgenstern, head rabbi at YIS, and Rabbi Baruch and Linda Freedman, previously of the Manhattan Jewish Experience (MJE), the synagogue has launched a new initiative: LIT (Living Inspired Together) @YIS.
Under the [email protected] umbrella, Rabbi and Linda Freedman will lead special services at the High Holidays, but also on other Jewish holidays and shabbatot throughout the year. As Rabbi Freedman explains, “I’ve always thought it was great when people came for Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur services, but I also thought that if they were in shul for Simchat Torah, they’d see the singing and spirit that we can put into davening, and they’d come back a lot more often.”
And, to help make people feel more comfortable coming to shul—for the High Holidays or on any other day—LIT is kicking off its program year with High Holiday services “with a soul,” and with a goal of delivering warm and accessible services to Jews of all backgrounds and levels of Jewish learning.
What should attendees expect? Rabbi Freedman explains, “Usually, talking in the middle of services is frowned upon, but we’ll be talking all through the day, stopping at every step of the tefillah (prayer) to discuss what’s going on. We’ll review what to do and why we do it, providing directions to follow along and adding English and Hebrew to the service to make it comfortable and familiar for everyone.”