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Rosh Hashanah: A Time for Welcoming the Newcomer

24/09/14 10:52:23 AM


I can't believe the new year arrives tonight! Shana tova! The High Holy Days are a magical time – both a time for reflection and connection. I think of the festive meals many of us have together with family and friends, and that palpable feeling of a reunion that many of us feel when we come to synagogue for services and see people who perhaps we have not seen since last year!

Our building fills with our members, their friends and families, and also our guests. The energy is bustling! I encourage you all this year to pay attention to your surroundings, and if you see someone who you don’t recognize, welcome them and wish them a happy, healthy, and sweet New Year!

In the spirit of connecting, I also invite you to keep in mind these principles of welcoming guests, especially newcomers, suggested by the Big Tent Judaism Coalition, of which Darchei Noam is a member. This organization is dedicated to opening the doors of Jewish communal life to as broad a cross-section of people as possible. Of course, many of these things are already part of the culture and fabric of Darchei Noam. Our goal as a welcoming community is to make sure that whoever comes through our doors feels comfortable, and these are some simple things to keep in mind during the Holy Days.

Six Things We Will Do to Make You Feel Welcome During the High Holy Days

  1. You will see people just like you who actively participate in our programs and services.
  2. You will never hear a disparaging remark about your religious background, the color of your skin, your country of origin, your sexual orientation, or your gender identity.
  3. You will never be made to feel embarrassed by your level of Jewish literacy or knowledge of the “Jewish culture code” or holiday practices.
  4. You will never stand or sit alone for any High Holy Day program or worship service.
  5. Your opinions, suggestions, and even your critiques of our programs and institution will be welcomed and heard.
  6. You will derive personal benefit from your participation with this institution and will find meaning in participating in our community during and after the High Holidays.


Shana tova everyone – a happy, healthy and sweet new year. I look forward to connecting with you all in the upcoming year.

Tema Smith, Manager of Outreach and Engagement

Tue, 19 March 2019 12 Adar II 5779