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September 7, 2012     Heritage Florida Jewish News
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September 7, 2012

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PAGE 20A HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, SEPTEMBER 07, 2012 By DebraRubin settings, some Jews find interpreted the story of Lilith alternative ways to observe and a rock opera on the Book WASHINGTON (JTA)-- theHighHolidays.Thatoften of Esther. "When I'm sitting Throughout the day theymeans praying, meditating there, I'mnotinteractingwith dropped slips of paper into the and reflectingwhile outdoors, the ritual, or the traditions or beehive-shapedbasket--snip- Kelman, 41, has done just the text." petsonwhichtheyhadwritten that for the past few years, Yet she loves the High Holi- the sins for which they were coordinating with friends he days. "I love that there's this seeking forgiveness, describes as having strong intensesenseofintentionand At nightfall, the group of Jewish backgrounds, renewal. And you're always about 15 people sat in a circle "Wewere looking forsome- in a different place," said the reading aloud the sins and thing that didn't feel like an Oakland resident. then tossing the papers into endurance sport butwas actu- But a half dozen years ago, the campfire, ally comfortable, and ailowed Tobin and her friend Devra This wasn't the typical us to interact with peoplewe Aarons decided to spend Rosh recitation of A1 Chet, the like and hit the parts of the Hashanah in the woods. "We confessionofsinsreadonYom servicethatmeantsomething brought books and a blanket Kippur. but for these Jews it for us," said Kelman, aprofes- and some snacks," Tobin marked the end of a Day of sor of education and Jewish recalled, alternating among Atonement spent in a wood- studiesat Stanford University. reading, writing and talking, land park in Oakland, Calif. He says the service has con- - "There's something really "There was a real sense of sisted of selected traditional nurturing about being out- recognition of a lot of things prayers from the machzor, side," she said. "I think the people were asking forgive- or holiday prayer book, study place is not evenas important ness for," said Ari Kelman sessions on the Torah por- astheideaofgivingourselves of Palo Alto, Calif.. one of tion in lieu of a formal Torah the time and space to do what the day's organizers. "All the reading and "texts that ran we need to do, both interactive things were individual, but the gamut from philosophy and reflective." therewasasenseofcollective topoetry toBible." Spending time outside recognitionforthesinsduring Kelman says he was in-became a tradition for her the course of the year." spired by the experience of andAarons. Other friends, in- While millions of Jews his friend, Amy Tobin.cluding Kelman, soon joined worldwidespendRoshHasha- "The years that I sat in ,them. nah and Yore Kippur in syna- synagogue, I didn't get much Kelman "has drawn on gogue sanctuaries, school out of it." said Tobin, who sections of the service, more auditoriums and other formal has written a musical that so than I probably would," Courtesy Isabella Freedman Jewish Retreat Center Those attending High Holiday services at the Isabella Freedman Jewish Retreat Center in Falls Village, Conn., may find solitude for prayer at the center's Lake Miriam. I Thad Altman Florida State Senate District 16 Political advertisement paid for and approved by Thad Altman, Republican, for Florida State Senate, District 16 Tobin said. "For me, I'm more But the Los Angeles-based interested in the spirit of the rabbi says, "I connect to season than I am in the spe- God best in nature, so to go cific prayers that are part of celebrate Rosh Hashanah, the service." which marks the creation of Rabbi Mike Comins also the world in nature, is very looks for the spirit of the meaningful for me." service and typically does While on the trail--typi- it alone, cally for at least half the Comins runs Torah Trek, day--Comins does "a lot of The Center for Jewish Wilder- the traditional davening," ness Spirituality, a group that praying, "journaling, chant- holds Jewish-contentretreats ing and personal prayer." andprogramsoutdoors.While "Part of the beauty of - his organization doesn't hold praying in nature is that you programs for the High Holi- can stop and listen," he said. days, Comins, 55, takes to a "Most people say they don't mountain trail on the second hear a response from God to day of Rosh Hashanah. their prayers, but if you hang "The reason I don't go up right when you're done out on the first day of Rosh talking, how do you know?" Hashanah and on Yore Kip- Comins says he knows the pur is I very much believe in response has come "when my being part of the community, energy lifts." I wouldn't want to choose one Others trek to the woods or the other," he said. for holiday experiences that The Mayflower. Smart. Secure. And Spectacular. For Annette Rosch, moving to The Mayflower from St. Petersburg was a family decision. Her daughter, a physical therapist, and her son-in-law, an attorney, wanted her to live closer "We visited various communities and talked to people who worked in the industry and who had older parents. The Mayflower name kept coming up," says Jeannie. "From the first minute of our initial visit here, we knew this was the place. All levels of care are right here." That, as things turned out, was a good thing. Just prior to moving in, Annette broke her arm and wound up going straight to The Mayflower's 5-Star, Gold Seal Health Center, followed by rehab and physical therapy right on-site. "It was a wonderful experience," she says. "The staff was very gracious; !was well taken care of." Now Annette is settled in her new apartment and couldn't be happier. For her daughter, it is a huge relief. "Morn is in good hands," adds Jeannie. "She has peace of mind and feels secure. And so do we." Mayflower resident Annette Rosch with daughter Jeannie Leavitt and son-in-law Mark Leavitt. What's your plan for the future? Call today, and let's talk about it: 407.672.1620 THE MAYFLOWER 1620 Mayflower Court Winter Park, FL 32792 combine formal traditional services with the informality of being in the wilderness. The Boulder. Colo.-based group Adventure Rabbi, for example, holds Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur retreats in the Colorado mountains, while the Isabella Freedman Jewish Retreat Center in Falls Village, Conn.. hosts observances for Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. Tiferet Gordon, 29, has at- tended the Isabella Freedman retreats twice. A rabbinical student at Hebrew College in Newton, Mass., she'll be leading the center's music- filled Reconstructionist-style service this year. Not only does Gordon, of Brookline, Mass., find spirituality in nature; she says that attending the formal services at the retreat is more meaningful than being in synagogue at home. In Brookline, she says, "if you want to take a break, you go outside and there are cars and people are living their lives; it's still Wednesday, if it's a Wednesday,'_' she said. "Here you go outside and it's still Rosh Hashanah. Here, walk- ing up and down the paths, it's like walking in Jerusalem. You see someone walking and you know you can say'Shanah tovah.'" Experiencing the holidays outdoors doesn't always mean climbing a mountain or go- ing to a remote retreat. For some congregations it means a nearby park on the second day of Rosh Hashanah. Cherie Brown, 62, of Silver Spring, Md., belongs to one such synagogue, Am Kolel, a Jewish Renewal congregation in nearby Beallsville. She loves both the more formal service on the first day and the smaller outdoor service on the second day that includes lots of singing and discussion groups rather than a formal sermon and a potluck lunch. "You're outside, you're in nature," Brown said. "It has this totally relaxed feel."