Last night our S'lichot program and service, held jointly with Beth El of Fairfield and B'nai Torah of Trumbull, proved to be a very powerful experience for all involved. The first part of the evening consisted of a staged reading of Merle Feld's play 'The Gates Are Closing'. More on that later in the week - it is such a rich and powerful piece that it needs its own blog entry. The depth of reflection and sharing from members of our joint community following the reading was as much a part of the experience as the play itself. As one of our colleagues, Rabbi Dan Satlow reflected that, while he may tell his community during the High Holydays that others at nearby synagogues are reciting the same prayers as they are, by coming together and sharing these reflections, and praying together, we felt the reality of that commonality and the partnership of Jewish community extended beyond congregational boundaries as experienced rather than abstract.
The service itself was also a reflection of multiple voices and styles, seamlessly woven together from the contributions of 4 rabbis, 2 cantors and 1 rabbinical student. It was remarkable because there was almost no advance planning involved in this part, yet the earlier evening program had really opened up the energy and spirit of S'lichot such that each leader could tap into that Source, and the whole that emerged felt like some of the most powerful praying we had all experienced in a while.
Beyond the specifics of the prayers, the melodies, the play, the discussion, bringing three communities together, blending our approaches and contributions, felt in and of itself like the holiest of vehicles on which we could be carried from S'lichot into this week leading up to Rosh Hashanah.
Rabbi Rachel Gurevitz