By Stephen E. Lipken
For the past two years, Congregation Kol Ami Rabbi Shira Milgrom, White Plains has prepared a guide, “Holiday Resources” “for all of you who choose to celebrate the eve of Rosh Hashanah with family and friends…” available on https://nykolami.org/high-holy-days.
“Holiday Resources” includes blessings and prayers; a story to be read around the table, “The Princess Who Wanted to See G-d;” audio recording of blessings for candles, wine and shehecheyanu (gratitude for living to see this day) and video about key concepts for Rosh Hashanah.
“During Erev Rosh Hashanah (evening of) some people prefer to stay home and have family holiday dinners to bring in the New Year that way,” Rabbi Milgrom explained. “On the eve of Rosh Hashanah many prefer to be home. Trying to have a family and friends’ dinner, then make it to services can be too hectic for some.
“We created Holiday Resources to support their observances at home.”
With Co-Rabbi Tom Weiner, Rabbi Milgrom said that her evening Rosh Hashanah sermon will focus on mirrors, “the ways we are reflected in the eyes of others.”
“I think we need to cultivate hope and activism,” Milgrom stressed. “People have not taken seriously the issues around us. I think we realize that if we care about something, we can’t sit back. We have to vote for candidates whose issues are aligned with ours and work for issues that are important. We cannot do any of that if we don’t have hope.”
Originally called the Jewish Community Center, the Reform congregation was founded in 1923, moving to their current location at 252 Soundview Avenue in 1946, growing to approximately 900 families.
In 1994 the synagogue name was changed to Kol Ami (The Voice of My People) to avoid confusion caused by the YWHA and YMHA organization changing their name to the Jewish Community Center.