The New Shul

Parshat Nitzavim/Rosh Hashanah

On Rosh Hashanah before the sounding of the shofar, we sing the words from Psalm 118: “Min ha-meitzar karati yah, anani va-merhav yah — From the narrow place I called to God, who answered me with expansiveness.” Rabbi Binyamin of Zalocze noted that, in the sounding of the shofar, our breath follows the same path. It begins at the narrow end of the shofar, a place of tightness and constriction, and emerges at the wide end, a place of openness and expansiveness.

Much of the time, we live our lives with a constricted sense of what is possible. We move within the narrow limits set by choices that we made long ago, or by circumstances that we never chose at all. Real change, teshuvah, begins with the realization that we have more freedom than we thought, that we need not remain trapped by the status quo. In the act of teshuvah, we move from narrowness to expansiveness, as our breath moves through the shofar. Also like that breath, teshuvah gives voice to our deepest longings and aspirations. In seizing our freedom, we unlock our hearts. We find our truest self-expression.

During this season of teshuvah, may we help each other to find that freedom.

  • The New Shul’s Shabbat services are on Friday evenings from 6 to 7 pm, and on Saturday mornings from 9 am to 12 noon. The kiddush-lunch this Shabbat, September 8, is sponsored by Stacy and John Andrews in honor of their daughter Becca’s new job as a physical therapist at Phoenix Children’s Hospital.
  • Childcare is available from 10 am to noon on Shabbat mornings.
  • If you would like to learn some of our prayer-melodies for the Days of Awe, join us for a singing workshop in the shul library this Shabbat, September 8, from 12:40 to 1 pm.
  • Complete information on our services for Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur is available here.