The New Shul

Parshat Nitzavim/Rosh Hashanah

In this week’s parashah, Nitzavim, Moshe gathers the entire people to re-affirm their covenant with God as they prepare to leave the desert and enter the Land of Israel. Rabbi Shneur Zalman of Liady asked why Moshe chose to do so at that particular moment.

Shneur Zalman’s answer was that Moshe was taking advantage of the present to try to shape the future. As long as the Jews remained in the desert, they did not need to re-affirm their loyalty to God because they felt so close to God already. In the desert, they were entirely dependent on God’s miracles, and there were no distractions to lead them astray. But Moshe wanted them to carry that closeness forward with them into the future. He wanted them to remain committed even after they had settled in the land and life became more normal. Moshe re-affirmed the covenant with the people at that moment in order to lock in for the future the sense of closeness that they felt right now.

On Rosh Hashanah, we do something similar. At that time of spiritual intensity, we commit ourselves to remain true to our highest ideals even after the intensity has worn off, so that we can live meaningful lives even during ordinary times.

On Rosh Hashanah we will gather — like the Israelites in parshat Nitzavim— at the threshold of a new beginning. May the commitments that we make to ourselves and to God bring blessing to our lives even when the year is no longer new.

  • Shabbat services at The New Shul are on Friday evenings from 6 to 7 pm, and on Saturday mornings from 9 am to 12 noon. The kiddush this Shabbat is sponsored by the shul.
  • Childcare is available from 10 am to noon on Shabbat mornings. Beyond Bim Bom I, our learning service for grades K to 1, is from 10:15 to 11:00 am this Shabbat.
  • Minyanim during the week are on Sunday mornings at 9:30 am, and Wednesday mornings at 7 am.
  • Service times for Rosh Hashanah are: Sunday evening September 16 from 6 to 6:45 pm, Monday September 17 from 8:15 am to 1:15 pm, Monday evening September 17 from 7 to 7:30 pm, and Tuesday September 18 from 8:15 am to 1:15 pm. Everyone is invited to stay for a kiddush-lunch on both days of Rosh Hashanah. Tashlikh is on Monday afternoon at 5:45 pm (meet at the entrance to the shul).
  • Complete information on our services for Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur is available here.