A special Jewish High Holydays message from Rabbi David Azen | TheUnion.com

A special Jewish High Holydays message from Rabbi David Azen

A special Jewish High Holydays message from Rabbi David Azen of Congregation B’nai Harim at the Nevada County Jewish Community Center

The creation of the world did not go as planned; our lives and actions also veer off course. How do we manage our deeds and our spirits in an existence riddled with randomness, chaos and peril? How do we draw strength from a power beyond us that had something to do with our being in such challenging circumstances? What meaning can we find in the midst of surviving day by day?

The Jewish New Year (Rosh Hashanah) and Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur) usher in a three week period of reflecting, cleansing and healing, starting this year on Sept. 6. The ultimate goal? Gaining sufficient inner strength to choose a proactive and positive response to life, rather than reeling from thing to thing in a reactive manner. Ask yourself this: Barring any truly horrible circumstances, could you freely choose to be joyful and bring that energy to life, or are you waiting for life to bring it to you?

Congregation B’nai Harim at the Nevada County Jewish Community Center welcomes any and all seekers. We are a reform Jewish Synagogue, which I have nicknamed “The Unorthodox Synagogue of Nevada County.” Whether you were born Jewish or not, if you are looking for a place for spiritual growth without dogma, we invite you to join us for these High Holy Days. Once upon a time, Judaism was open to everyone – never insistent that it was the only path for a soul to travel – and then due to anti-Semitism, decided not to risk offering itself further. Today, we again say, we’ve got treasures to share and willingly invite anyone to see whether the wisdom of over three thousand years has something to say to you.

Saturday, Sept. 4, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. I’ll be providing an overview of the holydays and a beginning of an introduction to Judaism, with lunch of course! You’ll see how the weekend itself began with our tradition, how the ability to think and learn were given room by taking a day off each week, and how that then turned into a path of questioning and questing, striving for the repair of self and repair of the world.

Monday evening, Sept. 6 at 7:30 p.m. and Tuesday, Sept. 7, at 10 a.m. we celebrate Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year and on Wednesday, Sept. 15 at 7:30 p.m. and the Thursday, Sept. 16 at 10 a.m. we do a thorough inner scrub on Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement. This soul work, contrary to some stereotypes about Jewish guilt being our driving force, actually leads to the ability to live fully and freely, and on Friday evenings Sept. 24 and Oct. 1 at 6 p.m. will be our opportunities to join together for these moments as we celebrate the festival of booths, Sukkot, and dancing with the Torah, our sacred scroll, exemplifying the joy of Judaism.

At a time in our world with so much division, destruction and difficulty, come be a part of something wholesome, ancient and fresh. Connect with a community that cares and looks out for each other. Learn something new, something old, something borrowed, something blue (and white), and let’s all see how we can carve out a space for finding, restoring and empowering our best selves.

With every good wish for health, happiness and love defeating the darkness,

Rabbi David Azen


About Congregation B’nai Harim

Congregation B’nai Harim at the Nevada County Jewish Community Center (NCJCC) has been serving the greater Grass Valley and Nevada City community since the 1980s. We are longtime members of the Grass Valley Chamber of Commerce and raise money to donate to local charitable organizations such as Hospitality House and Neo. We are a reform Jewish Synagogue and Jewish Community Center and hold regular Shabbat services (in person as local Health Department regulations advise and also online), celebrate Jewish holidays, life cycle events such as Bar and Bat Mitzvahs, baby naming ceremonies and Bris’s, weddings and funerals as well as many other fun events such as community picnics, golf events, book clubs, adult education classes, children’s Sunday School and Hebrew school, trips to Israel, etc. Our annual Chanukah party, Purim Carnival and Community Passover Seder are always highly anticipated and enjoyed and we always welcome the public to join us at any of our events and services. Our membership is made up of many types of families and individuals and we welcome all into our accepting community. We are affiliated with the Union for Reform Judaism (URJ) which is the largest Jewish movement in North America. Reform Judaism is progressive and adapts to modern changes and welcomes all people including interfaith families, Jews of color, LGBTQ Jews and their families, Jews with disabilities and we are committed to gender equality. We have a progressive, open and welcoming mindset and have been serving the greater Grass Valley, Nevada City and Colfax community for nearly 50 years.

In order to cover operating expenses, we request a donation of $50 for non-members attending one of our High Holyday services and $100 for two or more High Holyday services. All are always welcome and no one will ever be turned away for lack of funds. For information about membership, our Sunday school and Hebrew school program, or to request our weekly email “Schmooze” with all the weekly services and events, or any other inquiries, visit us online at NCJCC.org or on Facebook at “Nevada County Jewish Community Center- Congregation B’nai Harim” or by phone 530-477-0922 or email us at ncjcc@outlook.com


High Holydays overview and Introduction to Judaism:

Saturday, Sept. 4, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., lunch will be served

($5 per person donation requested)


Rosh Hashanah:

Monday, Sept. 6 at 7:30 p.m.

Tuesday, Sept. 7 at 10 a.m.

Yom Kippur:

Wednesday, Sept. 15 at 7:30 p.m.

Thursday, Sept. 16 at 10 a.m.


Friday, Sept. 24 at 6 p.m.

Friday, Oct. 1 at 6 p.m.

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