— by Tobie Hoffman
This fall, in Summit Church’s Fellowship Hall, a High Holiday gathering unlike anything you may have ever experienced will unfold again, as P’nai Or – the Mt. Airy Jewish renewal congregation whose name means “Faces of Light” – offers High Holiday services of a different stripe to seekers of all backgrounds.
The High Holidays at P’nai Or are Jewish renewal at its best,” said Rabbi Marcia Prager who has been co-leading these festive gatherings, along with many talented P’nai Or members, for eighteen years. “We blend traditional liturgy with uplifting heart-opening poetic translations so that Hebrew and English prayers flow intertwined with each other. The music is profound – deep, high and sweet in a way that caresses your soul. And of course, everyone is included. There is passionate prayer, quiet meditation, opportunities to reflect and do some pretty deep inner work, and also time to share, to be creative and even make some new friends.”
More after the jump.
P’nai Or High Holidays are a great introduction to the themes of this season in the Jewish year, and to different styles and approaches to these themes that can make them even more powerful and personally relevant. “If you have grown past thinking of God as a judgmental King on a throne, and are ready for some of the more potent imagery that grows out of the Jewish mystical tradition, P’nai Or will be a refreshing change for you too,” said Abby Michaleski who came to P’nai Or after trying many different congregations.
“I needed a more dynamic, more integrated way of understanding the creative life-force that I experience in the world and in my life. P’nai Or High Holidays takes the traditional liturgy and imagery and makes it soar in a way that is resonant with my experience. Boy was this a wow.”
“I wanted an informal, really friendly environment where I could have a spiritual experience, and also bring my kids” said Sam Steinig and his wife Rodi, who come with their daughters. The P’nai Or Children’s Program runs through the holiday, offering a blend of childcare and High Holiday activities and projects for children. We can bring our kids into the service to be with us, and also let them be with other kids and have educational fun.”
The themes of celebrating life and re-aligning with the Power that promotes goodness are strong currents at these gatherings. The High Holidays invite us to work together for forgiveness, compassion, and shalom – which means wholeness, fulfillment and perfection, as well as peace. All the songs, all the prayers and all the inner work we do helps us heal our inner hurts and rededicate ourselves to be the best we can be, internally, in our relationships, and in the world.
Would you like to come? We would love to meet you! Because the sustainability of the P’nai Or community is dependent on dues and contributions, there is a suggested donation for attending. However, if this is your first experience with P’nai Or we invite you to make the donation that feels right to you. No one is ever turned away from a P’nai Or gathering for financial reasons.
Erev Rosh Hashana:
WEDNESDAY evening, Sept. 28, 6 – 7:30 PM.
A short festive gathering: singing, davenen’, candle-lighting and apples & honey.
Rosh Hashana morning services:
THURSDAY morning, Sept. 29, 10 AM – 2 PM !
FRIDAY morning, Sept. 30, 10 AM – 2 PM
A vegetarian dairy potluck lunch follows the service each day – please bring food to share.
FRIDAY evening, Oct. 7, 6 – 9 PM.
Evening Service. Kol Nidre – 6:15 Sharp!
SATURDAY Oct. 8, 10 AM – 9 PM.
Day service: All day and evening including Havdala and N’eila.
A vegetarian/dairy break-fast follows. Please bring food to share.
Summit Church is on Greene and Westview in West Mt. Airy, one block from Lincoln Drive, and one block from Weaver’s Way Co-op. Services are in Fellowship Hall. Come in through the Greene St. Entrance and up the stairs! We look forward to meeting you!