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Credit: Elaine Halpert Photography

Family, Baggage and New Beginnings: Shaarey Zedek High Holy Day Perspective

By Leslie Emery, Program Director and Family Service Leader Sept 1, 2017

Jump to 50% Off Seat Promotion by clicking here.

As the High Holy Days approach, I find myself reminiscing of days gone by. Gathering with my Mom and sisters at my Grandparents home to prepare for the celebration with friends and family following Rosh Hashanah services. Polishing the silver and helping to choose which beautiful dishes would hold the delicious food my grandma had lovingly prepared for lunch the following afternoon. Attending services at Shaarey Zedek. Helping my great grandma to and from the car. Hearing the awe-inspiring sounds of the shofar. Singing along in the auditorium, with the far away voices of the choir. Reading the translations, attempting to decode the mysteries our ancestors had left for us, hidden in Hebrew. Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur were always a time for being together with family. The importance of that connection, stays true with me today.

Since those days many things have changed. More than a decade has passed since I began leading High Holy Day Family Services. I have davened with many families, watched children grow into young men and women. I have a husband and we have a young daughter of our own. So many changes and yet the essence and importance of what we do this time of year remains the same.

When I think of the High Holy Days, the image of a person weighed down with awkward bags, luggage and other cumbersome burdens enters my mind. I think of the many errors in judgement we are prone to, the mistakes I have made, my desire to do better. The mistakes many carry throughout their lives, holding on to them tightly, not knowing how to release them. I believe one of the most important things Judaism offers the modern world is the acceptance of mistakes. Our tradition is so confident that we are going to make mistakes, that we have an annual opportunity to repair them between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. We can release our baggage by helping to heal the hurts we may have caused to ourselves and others. We can take steps to learn from our errors so we don’t repeat them. We can forgive and move forwards with loving hearts.

I have heard many different comments about the Family Service over the years. The truth is that the Family Service is for families. Families are important. Time together is irreplaceable. Moments, memories, love, laughter and snuggles shared are priceless and fleeting. Life is too short. The Family Service is intended to meet the needs of families with young children. The service itself has something for everyone, young, old and in between. A meaningful experience celebrating the special connection you have together and preparing for a fresh start for the upcoming year. The High Holy Day Family Service is a place to begin and finish the process of releasing the baggage from the past year, so that you can take steps towards getting through this messy, miraculous world the best you can, with the support of your loved ones.

In my work as Program Director and as a Ritual Leader for Congregation Shaarey Zedek, a large focus of mine has been that special connection between parents and children, grandparents and grandchildren, aunts and uncles with nieces and nephews and helping make meaningful memories that last a lifetime. We are working very hard as a staff and congregation to bridge the gap between the old and new. We are proud to be inclusive and welcoming. Whether you are Jewish, of mixed background or exploring, LGBTQ+, or an interfaith family, partnered, single or new to Winnipeg, you will find a community at Shaarey Zedek that is here for you. Check out our newly innovated High Holy Day Sanctuary Services or join us at the Family Service on Yom Tov led by me with accompaniment by Josh Weinstock on the Guitar and Jay Stoller on drums; it is interactive, filled with music, meaning, and fun for families.

For first time Shaarey Zedek High Holy Day attendees and those who have not attended in 3 or more years, the shul is offering a 50% discount on all seating options, for members and non-members alike. Have a look at our special promotion on this page for details.

Wishing you and your family a Happy Healthy and Sweet New Year filled with many shared moments with those you love. Shanah Tovah.

Please contact Lara London, High Holy Day Seating Coordinator, at 204-975-3481 or [email protected] to arrange for your seats. Click here for service information.

To view other Shaarey Zedek High Holy Day YouTube Videos, please click here.

Experience High Holy Days at Shaarey Zedek

Members and Non-Members
50% off Standard Seat Prices
If you haven’t attended in 3+ years or ever
Rosh Hashanah Days 1 & 2, Kol Nidre, and Yom Kippur

Shaarey Zedek has made significant changes over the last few years to enhance our High Holy Day services. We want as many people as possible in the community to experience Yom Tov with us and enjoy the shorter, more meaningful, inclusive and lively services to kick off the Jewish New Year.

Shaarey Zedek is offering an exclusive deal of 50% off ticket prices for Members and Non-Members who have not purchased or attended High Holy Day services with us for 3 or more years.

Check out the fine print below or contact our High Holy Day Seating Coordinator, Lara London, at 204-975-3481 or [email protected] for more information or to book your seats.

The “Fine Print”

  • Members and Non-Members of Congregation Shaarey Zedek (CSZ) are welcome to take advantage of this offer.
  • In order to qualify for this offer, you must not have purchased HHD tickets or attended Shaarey Zedek HHD Services in the past 3+ years.
  • Shaarey Zedek Members will receive 50% off Member Priced ticket(s).
  • If you are a Member of another Synagogue and want to try our services this year you will receive 50% off Member Priced ticket(s).
  • Non-Synagogue Members will receive 50% off Non-Member Priced ticket(s).
  • All seats subject to availability

Hope to see you at Shaarey Zedek this Yom Tov!

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Rhonda Spivak, Editor

Publisher: Spivak's Jewish Review Ltd.

Opinions expressed in letters to the editor or articles by contributing writers are not necessarily endorsed by Winnipeg Jewish Review.