Chabad Park City will observe High Holy Days
Autumn is a special time of the year, and the first part of October is especially important for the local Jewish community.
This is when the High Holy Days start, according to Rabbi Yudi Steiger, director of Chabad Lubavitch Park City.
These High Holy Days include Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, which are observed within a week of each other, Steiger told The Park Record.
“Rosh Hashanah begins this year after sundown on October 2 and extends until nightfall on October 4,” he said. “Yom Kippur begins this year after sundown on the eve of October 11 and extends until nightfall on October 12.”
Rosh Hashanah is the Jewish New Year, Steiger explained.
“It’s also called the Day of Judgment or the Day of Remembrance,” he said. “It is the day that God remembers all of his creatures. Instead of what we do on Jan. 1, where people enjoy parties, this is more serious, because this is the day when we recommit our relationship with God.”
In Jewish tradition, Rosh Hashanah was the day that man was created.
“God created the world and on the sixth day, the human being was created 5,777 years ago,” Steiger said. “Human beings are the ones who have the task to transform the world and make it a better place.”
Services for Rosh Hashanah will be held Oct. 2 through Oct. 4. (See http://www.JewishParkCity.com for the complete schedule that include dinner services).
“During the services, we will blow the shofar, a ram’s horn,” Steiger said. “This symbolizes the crying of the human soul who wants to come closer to God. If something comes from deep in the heart, there are no words to describe that feeling. So, people cry.”
The tradition reaches back to the teaching of what most know as the Prodigal Son.
“It’s the story about the King who sent his son to a far-away country with the purpose of having the son learn new cultures and languages,” Steiger said.
The king gave his son money so he could support himself during his journeys, but the son didn’t use the money for studying.
“Lo and behold, he wasted it to the point that he didn’t have enough to return home to his father’s land,” Steiger said. “Still, he did barely make it, but he arrived at the palace with torn clothes and [he] was unrecognizable.”
The son told the guard that he is the son of the king, but because of the way the son looked, the guard didn’t believe he was the prince.
“The son even had forgotten the language of the land,” Steiger said. “And that’s when he began to cry.”
The king heard the crying and recognized the voice and opened the palace gates and gave his son another chance.
“This is like us. God gives us opportunities, but we do things we’re not supposed to do,” Steiger said. “So, when we hear that shofar sound, it penetrates through the gates and walls of the palace.”
On Monday, Oct. 3, the Chabad Lubavitch of Park City will lead the Tashlich.
“The Tashlich is a beautiful service where we parade to the water where there are fish, and we cast bread and pray,” Steiger said.
This year, the Tashlich parade will start at the Chabad Jewish Center, 1327 Park Ave., and parade to City Park.
“The Tashlich Unity Parade provides children with a deep sense of Jewish pride not soon to be forgotten,” Steiger said.
Between then and Yom Kippur, Jews observe seven days of repentance, because Yom Kippur is also known as the Day of Atonement, where Jews atone for their sins, according to Steiger.
“We’ll start on Wednesday and end on Tuesday, and ask that every Wednesday would be a good day of the year and that every Thursday will be a good day of the coming year,” he said.
The cantor for the service will be Israeli Olympic skeleton athlete A.J. Edelman, who is training to participate in the 2018 Winter Games.
“He came to train at the Olympic Park and that’s where I met him,” Steiger said. “He contacted me and told me he wanted to attend our services. And then he agreed to be our cantor and lead our Yom Kippur services.”
Although Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur are Jewish High Holy Days, Steiger said anyone can attend the services.
“The services will become more sweeter if more people come and join us,” he said. “We want to welcome everyone. It doesn’t matter if they are not Hebrew, or they feel like they didn’t attend Hebrew school enough.
“In fact, this is sometimes the only days that even Hebrew people will visit the Synagogue,” he said. “We will have books that will have the English translations, with the idea that God understands all languages.”
The services are free and open to the public.
“We will have a seat reserved for everyone,” Steiger said. “To accommodate the crowds, we will host this at Canyons’ Silverado Lodge, and we are very grateful to Vail for letting us use their space.”
Chabad Lubavitch Park City will observe the High Holy Days of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur starting Oct. 2. For more information or to reserve a space for the dinner services, visit http://www.JewishParkCity.com or call 435-714-8590.
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