Once again, Rosh haShanah occurs on Shabbat, and so the shofar will not be sounded on the first day. Some of my colleagues have been debating the wisdom of introducing the shofar on Shabbat. Those in favor argue that it will enable more people to fulfill the mitzvah (and meet their own desires) to hear the shofar. Those opposed have mostly argued that with the second day on Sunday, nobody has a good excuse to miss hearing it sounded. And a few have noted innovative ways that rabbis have reminded people of the shofar sound, including (my vote for most intriguing) having the entire congregation join in making the sound with their voices.
I agree with the rabbi who suggested the value of not sounding the shofar when Rosh haShanah occurs on Shabbat. He said omitting the shofar makes it clear that, as important as Rosh haShanah may be, it is not more important than Shabbat. The shofar calls us to action; its silence reminds us to set aside time for coexistence.
We will sound the shofar on the second day, as usual. And, as usual, members of the congregation are invited to bring their own shofarot to participate in our special ceremony during the Torah service (no earlier than 10:30). Tashlich will also take place on the second day, due to Shabbat, and shofarot are welcome there as well.
The first day will not be without its familiar joys. Parents of children born since last Rosh haShanah are invited to bring their offspring to the bima at about 10:00 to introduce them to the congregation. As always, we will set an empty chair for those who hope to join next year's ceremony.
And speaking of children, here's just a brief word about them. I love them, especially when they are being kids. But parents, they are your responsibility unless they are in our supervised activities. Please do not give you children permission to roam the building or the neighborhood, or to play unattended on the playground. When they are in the sanctuary, please be considerate of those around you; if their behavior crosses the line from engaging to distracting, please take them out of the sanctuary for a breather.
The shofar reminds us to repent, and one small part of my own teshuvah is this apology: if I have fallen short of your expectations for me this year, please forgive me. I will try to do better.
Ann, Jennie, Julia and Max join me in wishing you the happiest and healthiest of new years, filled with blessings and a sense of God’s presence.