The New Shul


In the first of this week’s two parshiyot, Nitzavim (which is always read on the Shabbat before Rosh Hashanah), Moshe gathers the entire community to re-affirm their covenant with God as they prepare to enter the land of Israel. Rabbi Shneur Zalman of Liady asked why Moshe chose to do so at that particular time.

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 a 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 blessings to our lives, and to the lives of those around us, even when the year is no longer new.

  • Candle lighting this Friday evening September 8, is at 6:26 pm. Shabbat ends on Saturday night at 7:20 pm.
  • The New Shul’s Shabbat morning service is from 9 to about 11:45 am, followed by a kiddush-lunch open to all. This Shabbat, September 9, the kiddush-lunch is sponsored by David and Jennifer Dworsky in honor of their birthdays, and the birthday of Jennifer’s mother Joanne Fixman.
  • Join us this Saturday night September 9 at 8:45 pm for a screening and discussion of the film “Sand Storm” (Elite Zexer, 2016), followed by our S’lihot service at about 10:45 pm.
  • Weekday minyanim at The New Shul are on Sunday mornings at 9:30 am, and on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday evenings at 6:30 pm.
  • Rosh Hashanah begins on Friday evening September 15. Our service that evening begins at 6 pm. Services for the first and second days of Rosh Hashanah, Saturday and Sunday September 16 and 17, begin at 8:15 am. Complete information on our holiday services is available here.