Papyrus-logo oval gold edited-2

Rabbi Lader
Rabbi Lader

Edna St. Vincent Millay, Steven Covey, and Teshuvah…

The editors of the new CCAR Machzor – Mishkan HaNefesh (Sacred Dwelling Place of the Soul) – open their Guide to the new prayerbook with the observation that our life in tewenty-first century America is filled with many blessings, especially in the field of technology. Yet, the more we have, the farther we seem to have strayed from a value-laden context. Edna St. Vincent Millay seemed prophetic as she wrote (in 1939):

“Upon this age…
This furtive age, this age endowed with power
To wake the moon with footsteps, fit an oar
Into the rowlocks of the wind, and find
What swims before his prow, what swirls behind —
Upon this gifted age, in its dark hour,
Rains from the sky a meteoric shower
Of facts . . . they lie unquestioned, uncombined.
Wisdom enough to leech us of our ill
Is daily spun; but there exists no loom
To weave it into fabric.”*

In this gifted age of technology, what serves as our “reset button” – our “loom” on which to weave, and re-weave, that which serves as an opportunity for teshuva – returning us to and centering us in a context of what matters most in our lives? As Jews, our reset button comes in the fall, as the leaves on the trees begin their turning. Our loom of Jewish text and traditions helps us weave together relevant and meaningful High Holy Day experiences.

Our High Holy Days will begin on Wednesday evening, September 20th, as we gather together to step into the New Year of 5778. We will travel together through Rosh HaShanah and then ten days later on Kol Nidre and Yom Kippur. From Steven Covey**, we have learned to “plan with the end in mind.” What do you hope to have realized by sundown (or close) at the end of Yom Kippur? How do you think your life will have changed? What will be different? Only you can answer these questions for yourselves; yet as we make our way through the High Holy Day liturgy, it can be very helpful to be aware of the potential for new truths to be realized… to consider and adopt changes… and to make our way into the new year revitalized and energized to be our best selves.

Our congregation is diverse. We are dynamic and ever-changing. These High Holy Days provide us with the ever new opporutnity to gather together with family and friends – and new friends – to experience awe and forgiveness and hope. In our age of facts that lie unquestioned and uncombined… In a world that continually seduces us away from the work that we must do… Together let us reset and weave the strands of awe and forgiveness and hope into our sacred fabric – our sacred path.

L’Shanah Tovah U’Metukha – Wishes to you all from my family to you and yours for a year ahead that is filled with goodness and sweetness,


Rabbi Enid C. Lader
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

*Edna St. Vincent Millay, from “Upon This Age That Never Speaks Its Mind,” Collected Sonnets (New York: Harper Perennial, 1988), 140.

** Steven R. Covey, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, 1989.