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Ta Shema: August 27, 2021

This Saturday night, we formally begin our sprint towards the High Holidays. As we begin Selichot, we will hear for the first time our familiar High Holiday melodies. For me, these melodies are the passport. They are the permission to get on the plane that will take us away to a new destination, a new year. However, we have to be open to the newness. To be open to newness, we need to be open to really experiencing the loss of the old—the broken heart. This is easier said than done. I invite you to use the poem by Jack Hirschman as spiritual inspiration for this time.



Go to your broken heart.

If you think you don’t have one, get one. 

To get one, be sincere.

Learn sincerity of intent by letting

life enter because you’re helpless, really,

to do otherwise.

Even as you try escaping, let it take you

and tear you open

like a letter sent

like a sentence inside

you’ve waited for all your life

though you’ve committed nothing.

Let it send you up.

Let it break you, heart.

Broken-heartedness is the beginning

of all real reception.

The ear of humility hears beyond the gates.

See the gates opening.

Feel your hands going akimbo on your hips,

your mouth opening like a womb

giving birth to your voice for the first time.

Go singing whirling into the glory

of being ecstatically simple.

Write the poem.


Please join us Saturday night for a warm-up to Selichot from

8-8:30pm on ZOOM only. Our soloists will be on ZOOM, so this format will highlight their talent in the best possible way. Come hear familiar melodies sung by Kava Notes soloists, Rav, and myself. Afterwards, stick around online to join me and Conservative/Masorti Congregations around the world for “Selihot Night Live” from 8:30 pm-1:00 am! It will be a night of learning not to be missed. After our short service, simply join the Rabbinical Assembly YouTube link here:


Click here for Selihot Night Live 2021 - YouTube



Selichot Learning Schedule

L'Shana Tovah, A Sweet Year

Rabbi Bender

Wed, September 27 2023 12 Tishrei 5784