Union for Reform Judaism Member Congregation

Blog

Tomorrow evening, we will gather as the Jewish community of Brownstone Brooklyn for Selichot, as we have done each year now for some six years. It is a most moving experience, as all the rabbis and cantors join together, our shinshinim this year from Israel, along with our various congregants and neighbors, in prayers of introspection in search of teshuva—repentance (Saturday night, 9:30PM, Park Slope Jewish Center, 14th Street/8th Avenue). At the service last year, I offered the following reading from our High Holy Day Machzor, Mishkan HaNefesh – Sanctuary of the Soul. It is a different take on the traditional litany of “Al Cheyt Shechatanu…” “For the sin we have committed against You…” It is on page 313 of our Yom Kippur volume in the Vidui and S’lichot – Confession and Seeking Forgiveness – segment at the end of the Morning Service. Our Torah portion for this Shabbat, Nitzavim-Vayeilech, begins with the same declaration as that which we read on the morning of Yom Kippur: You stand this day, all of you, before the Eternal your God – from the elders and judges to all of your families, to the choppers of wood and the drawers of water (Deuteronomy 29.9-10). As we read the original Al Cheyt and also this alternative interpretation, we do it together, as we stand before the Creator of us all. May our teshuva during this Holy Day season be sincere, and may the coming year be a good year for all of us and those we love.

For Every Act of Goodness
Let us affirm the good we have done;
let us acknowledge our acts of healing and repair…

For the good we have done
by acting with self-restraint and self-control;

For the good we have done
through acts of generosity and compassion;

For the good we have done
by offering children our love and support;

For the good we have done
by honoring our parents with care and respect;

For the good we have done
through acts of friendship and hospitality;

For the good we have done
through acts of forgiveness and reconciliation;

For the good we have done
by keeping promises and honoring commitments’

For the good we have done
by caring for the earth and sustaining its creatures;

For the good we have done
by housing the homeless, feeding the hungry, and welcoming the stranger;

For the good we have done
by acting with integrity and honesty;

For the good we have done
through thoughtful and encouraging words;

For the good we have done
by caring for our health and that of our loved ones;

For the good we have done
by strengthening our Jewish community;

For the good we have done
through acts of civic engagement and tikkun olam;

All these have brought light and healing into the world.
May these acts inspire us to renew our efforts in the year to come.