June 20, 2018
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High Holy Days draw Colby rabbi to Rockland for services

By Judy Harrison, BDN Staff

ROCKLAND, Maine — Jews around the world last week heard the ancient, haunting sound of the ram’s horn, or shofar, proclaim the High Holy Days, beginning with Rosh Hashana at sundown Wednesday and concluding with Yom Kippur, which commences at sundown Friday, Oct. 7.

Rosh Hashana marks the beginning of a new year in the Jewish calendar and the season of Teshuvah, which means turning. The holiday marks the period of introspection Jews are required to undergo each year.

Yom Kippur, the Jewish day of atonement, is the most solemn day on the calendar and is a counterpoint to the celebratory quality of Rosh Hashana. The day is marked by fasting, penitence and prayer. Work, eating, drinking, washing, anointing one’s body, sexual intercourse and donning leather shoes are forbidden the most traditional Jews.

While many Jewish holidays such as Passover and Hanukkah are home-centered, the high holidays are to be observed in a synagogue with a rabbi conducting services, if possible.

This year, Rabbi David M. Freidenreich, a member of the Colby College religious studies department, will step out of academia and onto the bima at Adas Yoshuron, the independent synagogue in Rockland that does not have a full-time rabbi.

“This is an opportunity to express myself on a spiritual level and be with people who are anxious to experience God in a new way,” he said last week before Rosh Hashana began. “My job is to meet them where they are.”

Freidenreich, who is on sabbatical this year, teaches a wide range of courses on Judaism, Jewish history and comparative religion at Waterville college. His research explores attitudes toward adherents of foreign religions, primarily as these attitudes are expressed in ancient and medieval religious law. Freidenreich also studies and compiles the histories of Maine’s Jewish communities.

Yom Kippur at Adas Yoshuron will begin with the Kol Nidre service at 5:45 p.m. Friday featuring the synagogue choir. The holiday will continue will continue beginning with services at 9 a.m.

The Yizkor memorial service will begin about 11:30 a.m., and at 3:30 p.m. Freidenreich will lead a discussion about fasting and food. The High Holy Days will conclude in Rockland with the closing Ne’ilah services at 4:30 p.m. followed by a potluck community fast breaking.

Reservations are required for the meal. For information, call 594-4523 or email yoshuron@midcoast.com.

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