Latest News

Unitarian Universalists for Jewish Awareness
Unitarian Universalists for Jewish Awareness
All are welcome to join us on the evening of Yom Kippur, September 27th at 7PM, we will co-host a service with the Morristown Unitarian Fellowship on ZOOM. Let us reflect on what matters most, on the possibility of individual and collective change, and on beloveds we have lost in the last year. Join Rev. Alison Miller & UUs for Jewish Awareness for this annual service at: https://zoom.us/j/99126756796
Unitarian Universalists for Jewish Awareness
Unitarian Universalists for Jewish Awareness
Shanah tova, dear friends of UUJA, we have some suggestions for your participation in the High Holy Days this year.

Firstly, the evening services conducted by our own Rev Alison Miller of the UU Fellowship of Morristown, NJ. These will be UU services which honor the Jewish roots of our faith. All are invited to evening services for ROSH HASHANAH on Friday, September 18th at 7pm Eastern on ZOOM and for KOL NIDRE on Sunday, September 27th at 7pm Eastern on ZOOM. The link for both services is: https://zoom.us/j/99126756796

Secondly, at the usual time for UU Sunday services, The Rev Leah Ongiri, former UUJA President, will conduct a UU service for the High Holy Days from the UU Fellowship of Appleton, WI. She writes: As is tradition at our Fellowship, we will mark the Jewish High Holy Days by reflecting with Jewish Unitarian Universalists Rev. Leah and Jaclyn Kottman and experiencing ancient sacred Kol Nidrei music offered by Dan Van Sickle and Mark Urness. Same service—and yet, like so much these days, it will be different. During a global pandemic, how might Judaism suggest we reckon with deprivation, discomfort, and disappointment caused by human behavior? A simple home ritual can help you establish your sense of self, reclaim some power, and set intention. All are warmly invited to attend!
10 AM CST, September 20th, 2020 Reclaiming Power: A Days of Awe Service by Rev. Leah Ongiri and lay leader Jaclyn Kottman. Go to https://fvuuf.org/services/upcoming-services/ and scroll down.
Thirdly, our “cousins” at the Society for Humanistic Judaism are offering a wide variety of services at their many congregations in several time zones, including morning services and Yizkor. https://shj.org/connect/find-high-holidays/

Finally, a new group, JewBelong (www.jewbelong.org), looks like an inclusive and interesting resource for UUJA supporters. Here are their offerings:

1) The Program! Sins, Stars, and Shofars! A JewBelong Virtual High Holidays Experience premieres on September 18th at 7:30pm ET and will be available to watch throughout the High Holiday season. Get your free ticket here.

2) The Digital Rituals! We’ll guide you through the High Holiday themes of Apology, Tashlich (casting off our sins and what no longer serves us), and Legacy (what do you want written on your tombstone and how do you start living that way).

3) The High Holidays Booklet! Use it to follow along with the show or have your own DIY High Holidays celebration!
Unitarian Universalists for Jewish Awareness
Unitarian Universalists for Jewish Awareness
Tonight as Shabbat arrives, so also begins the New Year 5781. Rosh Hashanah, the beginning of the ten days known as the Days of Awe, starts tonight.

I can’t even say how many people have told me they completely left the synagogue behind because of the theology they saw in the High Holidays’ liturgy.

On Rosh Hashanah, the Torah portion includes the deeply troubling narratives of the exile of Hagar and Ishamel and the binding of Isaac.

The liturgy includes the Unetanneh Tokef, the prayer from which is drawn a traditional New Year’s greeting: “L'shanah tovah tikatevu v'tichatemu,” meaning, “May you be inscribed and sealed for a good year.”

But the prayer’s internal logic depends on judgment. Not the final judgment of Christianity, but a periodic judgment that will be revisited again at the start of the next year. And the results of that judgment are who will live and who will die in the coming year.

“On Rosh Hashanah will be inscribed and on Yom Kippur will be sealed – how many will pass from the earth and how many will be created; who will live and who will die; who will die after a long life and who before his time.”

The phrasing that follows lists ways of dying that were further interpreted by Leonard Cohen in his song “Who By Fire”:

“And who in her lonely slip, who by barbiturate
Who in these realms of love, who by something blunt
Who by avalanche, who by powder
Who for his greed, who for his hunger
And who shall I say is calling?”

It makes compelling music. But in the end, Unetanneh Tokef requires a whole lot of wrestling, and its theology feels distant, obscure, and off-putting to many in the 21st century. We look more for affirmation and hope than we do for judgment –all the more so in this time of pandemic and economic risk.

And so Rabbi Darren Levine of Tamid the Downtown Synagogue, in New York City, and of Positive Judaism, has offered a positive counterpoint to the Unetanneh Tokef, which many of us may wish to add to our Rosh Hashanah lineup:

“Who by Strength?”
On Rosh Hashanah it is written, on Yom Kippur it is sealed.
Who shall thrive and who shall survive?
Who by creativity and who by curiosity,
Who by judgement and who by honesty,
Who by bravery and who by zest,
Who by perspective and who by perseverance,
And who shall we say are thriving?
Who by a love for learning and who by love,
Who by hope and who by humor,
Who by kindness and who by social intelligence,
Who by leadership and who by teamwork,
And who shall we say are thriving?
Who by fairness and who by forgiveness,
Who by humility and who by gratitude,
Who by care and who by discipline,
Who by the appreciation of beauty and who by spirituality,
And who shall we say are thriving?

Enjoy the sweetness of the new year! And may you thrive! Shana tova! Happy New Year!

https://positive-judaism.org/who-by-strength-not-who-by-fire/
Unitarian Universalists for Jewish Awareness
Unitarian Universalists for Jewish Awareness
Shanah tova, dear friends of UUJA, we have some suggestions for your participation in the High Holy Days this year.

Firstly, the evening services conducted by our own Rev Alison Miller of the UU Fellowship of Morristown, NJ. These will be UU services which honor the Jewish roots of our faith. All are invited to evening services for ROSH HASHANAH on Friday, September 18th at 7pm Eastern on ZOOM and for KOL NIDRE on Sunday, September 27th at 7pm Eastern on ZOOM. The link for both services is: https://zoom.us/j/99126756796

Secondly, at the usual time for UU Sunday services, The Rev Leah Ongiri, former UUJA President, will conduct a UU service for the High Holy Days from the UU Fellowship of Appleton, WI. She writes: As is tradition at our Fellowship, we will mark the Jewish High Holy Days by reflecting with Jewish Unitarian Universalists Rev. Leah and Jaclyn Kottman and experiencing ancient sacred Kol Nidrei music offered by Dan Van Sickle and Mark Urness. Same service—and yet, like so much these days, it will be different. During a global pandemic, how might Judaism suggest we reckon with deprivation, discomfort, and disappointment caused by human behavior? A simple home ritual can help you establish your sense of self, reclaim some power, and set intention. All are warmly invited to attend!
10 AM CST, September 20th, 2020 Reclaiming Power: A Days of Awe Service by Rev. Leah Ongiri and lay leader Jaclyn Kottman. https://drive.google.com/file/d/156Zn_LIJGP9ZZyerrVlubcvAnCtJmMV8/view?usp=sharing

Thirdly, our “cousins” at the Society for Humanistic Judaism are offering a wide variety of services at their many congregations in several time zones, including morning services and Yizkor. https://shj.org/connect/find-high-holidays/

Finally, a new group, JewBelong (www.jewbelong.org), looks like an inclusive and interesting resource for UUJA supporters. Here are their offerings:

1) The Program! Sins, Stars, and Shofars! A JewBelong Virtual High Holidays Experience premieres on September 18th at 7:30pm ET and will be available to watch throughout the High Holiday season. Get your free ticket here.

2) The Digital Rituals! We’ll guide you through the High Holiday themes of Apology, Tashlich (casting off our sins and what no longer serves us), and Legacy (what do you want written on your tombstone and how do you start living that way).

3) The High Holidays Booklet! Use it to follow along with the show or have your own DIY High Holidays celebration!
Unitarian Universalists for Jewish Awareness
Unitarian Universalists for Jewish Awareness
All are invited to evening services for ROSH HASHANAH on Friday, September 18th at 7pm Eastern on ZOOM and for YOM KIPPUR on Sunday, September 27th at 7pm Eastern on ZOOM. UUs for Jewish Awareness will be joining services with the Morristown Unitarian Fellowship (NJ) led by Rev. Alison Miller. The link for both services is: https://zoom.us/j/99126756796 Wishing you a sweet new year!