Jewish High Holidays to start this Sunday
Steamboat Springs — This weekend, Har Mishpachah, the Jewish congregation of Steamboat Springs, is preparing to celebrate The Days of Awe known as Rosh Hashana, the Jewish New Year and Yom Kippur, the day considered most sacred day in the Jewish calendar.
“The High Holidays are a highlight of the Jewish year,” said Rabbi Mark Asher Goodman, who has served as rabbi of the Har Mishpachah congregation for a year and a half now. “It’s a day in which everyone shows up, and it’s an important day for Jews because it’s a period of time that involves deep introspection and self examination.”
Rosh Hashana is a two-day holiday in which the Jewish community plans for the next year, atones for sins and makes amends to those they have wronged throughout the year. This year, it will be celebrated at The Ranch at Steamboat at 7 p.m. Sunday, with Goodman leading the congregation. Services will also be conducted at 10 a.m. Monday at the same location.
“It’s a prime opportunity to recognize their religious roots and their take on the most serious and compelling religious holiday throughout the year,” said Bert Halberstadt, president of the local congregation.
With a message of renewal through repentance, the five services of Yom Kippur will start with the Kol Nidre service Tuesday. This service will mark the end to the Days of Awe with the sound of the shofar (ram’s horn) as the congregation leaves to face another year. A celebration will be held at The Ranch after the Yom Kippur service at 5 p.m.
Steamboat’s Har Mishpachah congregation has undoubtedly grown, especially during the High Holiday services and in addition to the new programs held throughout the year.
“The numbers fluctuate from year to year, but the number of people in the congregation is the highest it’s ever been right now,” Halberstadt said. “The interest and growth has been phenomenal.”
Goodman’s influence, Halberstadt said, has incorporated programs that touch on subjects that can be applied to everyday life and broader social issues.
This, in turn, has attracted people who are interested in the culture, educational, religious and social aspects the congregation and its programs offer.
“Rabbi Mark Asher Goodman is an amazing leader,” Halberstadt said. “He is very eclectic and is an inspiring teacher. A lot of his program subjects are relevant today, as opposed to what I used to call as a kid, ‘bible stories.”
These programs have taken place at various locations throughout the community, including on the mountain skiing in the winter, at The Ranch at Steamboat, at community members’ homes, at the United Methodist Church and more. Halberstadt said the intent of the programs is to provide something for everyone.
The services, which will begin Sunday, are expected to draw large crowds, and Halberstadt said all are welcome.
“It will be exciting to celebrate the New Year, 5776,” Goodman said.
To reach Audrey Dwyer, call 970-871-4229, email adwyer@SteamboatToday.com or follow her on Twitter @Audrey_Dwyer1
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