Rabbi Stan Levin

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    This web site is for those of you who are looking for a rabbi to perform life cycle events in the Washington, DC metropolitan area, including: weddings, funerals, and baby namings.

    This  site is also for people who are interested in Jewish holidays, Torah Study, and other topics of Jewish interest. 

Torah and Haftarah Portions for the Month of October 2016

» October 1 - Nitzavim (Deuteronomy 29:9-30:20); Haftarah (Isaiah 61:10-63:9)
» October 8 - Va'yeilekh (Deuteronomy 31:1-31:30 ); Haftarah (Isaiah 55:6-56:8)
» October 15 - Ha'Azinu (Deuteronomy 32:1-52); Haftarah (II Samuel 22:1-22:51)
» October 22 - Chol Ha'moed Succoth
» October 29 - Bereshit (Genesis 1:1-6:8); Haftarah (Isaiah 42:5-43:10)

    Jewish Holidays in October 2016

    Happy Rosh Hashonah 5777!

    » Rosh Hashonah - The Jewish New Year (1 Tishrei/October 3, 2016).  Rosh Hashonah inaugurates a new year and a time for reflection on our actions so that we can correct our course.  The traditional Rosh Hashonah greeting is "L'shana tovah ticotavu" (May you be inscribed for a good year").  The metaphor is that G_d has a ledger book in which it will be written who will live and who will die in the New Year.  For the 10 days between Rosh Hashonah and Yom Kippur (the Day of Atonement), the book remains opened, but it is sealed on the Day of Atonement and one's fate is determined. For more information, click here.
    » Fast of Gedaliah (3 Tishrei/October 5, 2016).  Gedaliah was the governor of Judah, appointed by Nebuchadnezzar,  who was assassinated shortly after the fall of the First Temple.   This is considered a minor holiday, observed by a fast that begins at sunrise and ends at sunset on the same day (most Jewish holidays begin the night before; this is an exception).  The details of Gedaliah's assassination are described in 2 Kings 25:25-26 and Jeremiah 41.
    » Yom Kippur - The Day of Atonement (10 Tishrei/October 12, 2016).  Other than the Sabbath, Yom Kippur is the most solemn day on the Jewish calendar.  There is a 24-hour fast initiated by a prayer, Kol Nidre, in which we ask G_d to forgive all our vows and oaths.  The holiday ends with N'ila, the closing service, which traditionally concludes when three stars are visible in the sky.  For more information, click here.
    » Succoth - Feast of Booths.  (15-21 Tishrei/ October 17- 23, 2016) .  In the ancient world, this harvest festival was the biggest of the three pilgrimage holidays (Passover and Shavuoth being the other two).  At the time of Ezra, everyone congregated in Jerusalem to hear a reading of the Torah.  The holiday commemorates the temporary structures in which the Children of Israel lived as they crossed the Wilderness.  This holiday lasts 7 days, and observant families eat in temporary booths connected to their homes.  The invite guests, including the spiritual guests, Ushpizin, associated with this holiday.  For more information, click here.
    » Hoshanna Raba and Shemini Atzeret, (21-22 Tishrei/October 23-24, 2016).  These two holidays are the end of Succoth and therefore the last of the Harvest Festival Days.  Their names means "Great Supplication" and  "8th day of Solemn Assembly," respectively. Symbolically, Hoshanna Raba, the 7th day of Succoth,  is the last chance to repent for the New Year.  The Book of Life may have been closed on Yom Kippur, but it is not sealed until Hoshanna Raba.  Shemini Atzeret is its own holiday, and technically not a part of Succoth.  In traditional synagogues, Ecclesiastes (Kohelet) is read as well as prayers for rain.  
    »  Simchat Torah - Rejoicing of the Torah  (23 Tishrei/October 25.2016).  We celebrate the Torah by reading the closing verses of Deuteronomy and the opening verses of Genesis.   Thus the cycle of reading the Torah begins anew.  In traditional congregations, the Torahs are carried around the sanctuary seven times, with song and dance.  There can be much rejoicing -- including drinking, which may explain why  the Priestly Blessing is moved earlier in the service than usual in an Orthodox congregation.


    Note: Jewish holidays actually begin at sunset the day before the English calendar date.  Thus, Erev Rosh Hashonah is Sunday night, October 2, Erev Yom Kippur (the Kol Nidre service) is Tuesday night October 10, and Erev Succoth is Sunday, October 16).

Rabbi Stan Contact Information:
Phone: 240.720.5212
Email: rabbistan@gmail.com