Awake You Sleepers: Community Learning for the Days of Awe

September 10, 2020, 6:45 pm - 8:00 pm

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Maimonides wrote that the blast of the shofar should be seen as a cosmic alarm clock, a wake-up call to our slumbering hearts and souls. This year’s Metro Detroit Community High Holy Days Learning will offer some thoughts and responses to the questions of a High Holiday season like no other. All are invited to help us sound the alarm and direct our intentions to the Days of Awe. 

What to expect: We’ll begin together, then the learning will take place in Zoom breakout rooms with individual Rabbis. This event and is open and free of charge to all, but please note that registration is required to ensure security.


Rabbi Aaron Bergman – Rabbi Nachman and Sylvia Boorstein Help us Across the Narrow Bridge
Rabbi Nachman and Sylvia Boorstein have a lot to teach us about how to handle fear, anxiety and loss of confidence and self esteem. We will study some of their writings and do some meditations on them, too, in order to help us get through all the challenges in our lives.

Rabbi Yonatan Dahlen – Caffeine for the Soul
Mindful practices from Judaism’s greatest sages to stay in the moment, even virtually!

Rabbi Robert Dobrusin – Avinu Malkaynu: History, Structure and Meaning
In this session we will explore Avinu Malkeynu, one of the best known tefillot from the Mahzor: Among the questions we will discuss: What is the “secret” behind the words Avinu Malkeynu? Are there different versions of the text? Have we been singing it wrong all of these years? And, what part of Avinu Malkeynu is actually antithetical to basic Jewish theology?

Rabbi Robert Gamer – Strange Times in Rabbinic Thought
A Time of Danger (Sakanah), A Time of Extenuating Circumstances (Dachak), and A Time to Act for God (La’asot L’HaShem).

Rabbi Shalom Kantor – The Line Between Humans And Angels: How Thick or Thin Is It?
On Yom Kippur we dress, act, and even speak as though we are angelic beings. But who are these beings and why do we want to imitate them, when in fact we are supposed to be becoming better people not angels? Together we will sing, read and discuss about the intersection of the lives of angels and our own and how they can help us on our journeys for the coming year.

Rabbi Steven Rubenstein – And Torah Study Is Equivalent to Them All
Let’s explore the importance of Torah study in our lives as we embark upon on a new year.  This will be an exploration of traditional ideas along with a practical conversation and exchange of ideas for how you can make Torah study an active part of your daily life this coming year.

Rabbi Mitch Parker – Shame Versus Guilt. Steps in Achieving Tshuvah

Rabbi Aaron Starr – Competing Jewish Values in a Pandemic: More than Just “Saving Lives”
As the world shut down this past spring in response to the rapid spread of the novel coronavirus, the justification given for the dramatic decisions made were under the category of what Jews call, pikuach nefesh: saving a life. With the rise and fall of the virus’s numbers, this continues to be the value most often invoked. However, does this value indeed trump all other values? When and how do other values enter the conversation — including discussion of self-preservation, Jewish communal continuity, and economic progress — and how might these values potentially be equal to or even greater than the Jewish obligation to save a life? As we approach the High Holidays, join Rabbi Aaron Starr for a discussion of the ethical life that Judaism demands of us today.

In partnership with Adat Shalom Congregation, Congregation Beth Ahm, Congregation Beth Shalom, B’nai Israel Synagogue, and Congregation B’nai Moshe.