2022 HIGH HOLIDAY MESSAGE FROM RABBI JAMES
Dear Coalition Members and Guests,
As we begin a new year together and approach these Yamim Nora’im, these Days of Awe, I
am so grateful to be with you in-person once again.
Since March of 2020, the Coalition has mostly been meeting virtually. Although we
gathered in person for Tashlich and Sukkot last fall, we have not been together as a
community since then. Planned in-person experiences were postponed as new waves of
COVID-19 arose in our country and around the world. Although our community has not
been together for worship, we have been thoughtfully and lovingly guided by our board
and dedicated volunteers. And, many members of the Coalition have returned to sharing
meals, meeting in each other’s homes, and trying to regain some semblance of connection
As the Coalition leadership began to explore how to worship in community during the
upcoming holiday season, we were faced with a new challenge, maintaining the openness
and inclusion that our virtual programs allowed for over the last year, while also returning
to in person programming that our entire membership is craving and that our community
is ready for. This year, we will gather in person for the holidays, as we remember those in
our global community who have died. Our Yizkor service will include prayers not just for
our loved ones, but also for those we do not know who were taken over the pandemic over
the last two years.
We also recognize that the world has been changed – likely permanently – by the
pandemic. Community Is not just those people who are in the room, but also includes
folks in our circles of connection who live outside of the region but consider the
Coalition their spiritual home. We are committed to maintaining engaging and
meaningful virtual options for those people, and for those who are not yet
comfortable with larger in-person gatherings like the high holidays.
I am mindful that last year, we were also anticipating an in-person holiday gathering only
to switch at the last minute due to a significant rise in COVID-19 cases in our region. As the
Yiddish proverb reminds us, “humans plan and God laughs.” We will continue to plan as
best as we can, and will also be responsive to the needs of our community and the health
and safety realities around us. But Joyfully, our ark will once again be opened and our
community will be together to begin the new year.
We have so much to be joyful for this year, and I could not be more excited to
celebrate the holidays with you and our community. I am confident that this year’s
holiday services will be joyful and connective. If you have questions about our health a
safety protocols, I invite you to reach out to me, our High Holy Day Chairs – Leni Welte
and Faith Drucker, or the Coalition Leadership Committee. Until then, I hope you remain
safe and well.
Jen, Talyah, Kol, and I wish each of you a joyful new year. For all of us, I hope it brings
connection, fulfillment, and rejuvenation.
Shanah Tovah Umetukah (A sweet and joyful new year),
Services to be held at the : BRIDGEWATER CONGREGATIONAL CHURCH FRIENDSHIP HALL
10 Clapboard Rd., Bridgewater, CT 06752