Oh! So Much to Tell!

Welcoming the High Holidays has kept the Institute for Judaic Services and Studies (IJSS) busy! On Sept. 21, IJSS members attended the Welcome Back Happy Hour gathering. This was a time for congregants to welcome back Rabbi Sanford Seltzer and for him to greet congregants. We are glad that our Rabbi got tired of retirement. The event was a bright spot of many smiles and friendships rekindled.

A highlight of the event was Joel Wyner, a past chair recognizing Joan Elder, our chair of four years. Her leadership, charisma, “do it” attitude, and constant smile led us through COVID-19; selection of a new rabbi, cantorial soloist, and accompanist; and other challenges that she faced. Joan exemplifies IJSS’s mission of maintaining and growing a welcoming Jewish congregation at SaddleBrooke.

In gratitude, Joel presented Joan with a tallit (prayer shawl) bordered in purple and kippah (head covering) on behalf of the board members. Purple is Joan’s favorite color, and we can spot her well at services because no one else has a purple tallit.

Rosh Hashanah services brought us together. Our Rabbi, known for his knowledge and scholarly distinction, offered services to our congregation reflecting on tradition, history, concerns, and hopes for a New Year. Wishes of health, peace, and joy to all were offered.

Hearing cantorial soloist Eliyanah Powers’ voice for the first time was amazing. Eliyanah’s delivery of musical prayers and chants was truly beautiful. Her depth and personal caring for our tradition was a delight and an honor to hear.

Harrison Sheckler is new to Judaic music. As a doctoral candidate of piano at the University of Arizona, his skill and musicality was present in supporting the Rabbi and Eliyanah. Harrison fulfilled the service with excellent ability.

IJSS began a new tradition, giving honey cakes, symbolizing a sweet New Year to all Congregants at Rosh Hashanah morning services. Sincere and many thanks to our bakers: Roz Eisner, Esta Goldstein, Leslie Gordon, Marsha Foresman, Diane Korn, Brenda McBride, Lynn Rutman, and Loraine Stillman. It was a true treat that brings back memories to many.

Yom Kippur was observed at the end of Ten Days of Repentance. Rabbi Seltzer devoted himself to delivering rituals of tradition, historical knowledge, medieval poetry, background of personalities who formed the State of Israel, and the meaning of some modern Hebraic words.

The first service for Yom Kippur is Kol Nidre (All Vows). We were honored to have Robert Marshall, cellist, play for us Max Bruch’s composition of ‘Kol Nidre’. This is a tradition in many synagogues and we are privileged that we were able to have this work played for our congregation, setting the scene for prayers of reflection and remembrance.

IJSS is very grateful for the talents of our clerical support.

Yom Kippur is a fast holiday and our stomachs were rumbling at the end of services. In partnership with the Jewish Friendship Group, members of both groups shared a Break The Fast at HOA TWO. Sincere thanks to the staff who provided a light and tasty meal.

Please join us on Nov. 4 for Shabbat services. If you wish to sponsor an Oneg reach out to Sam Horowitz at [email protected].

IJSS is a small and welcoming congregation. We value our members and their needs. If you have questions or wish to join our congregation, please feel free to contact Joan Elder at 520-360-1478 or Seth Eisner at 520-818-6340 for information.

IJSS wishes the community A Happy New Year—L’shana tovah.