Jews for Jesus is not the only group that finds the High Holidays a good time to reach out to seekers. Many other Jewish groups, some traditional and some very non-traditional, are inviting seekers to come celebrate the holidays with them.
For example, you may have heard the word Kabbala in conjunction with celebrities who have taken an interest in this mystical (and non-biblical) aspect of Judaism. Today’s Kabbalists take an interesting approach to Rosh Hashanah.
On a web page with a banner reading Rosh Hashanah 2006″ we read, “Don’t count on luck, fortune, or chance for your life to turn out the way you want.”
The page goes on to explain:
“The Zohar [one of the chief rabbinical commentaries Kabblists draw from] explains that every year on Rosh Hashanah, your actions of the past year are examined, and the effects of your actions from the previous year come back to you.”
It is interesting to note the passive voice. The web page does not say that it is God who examines your deeds.
Carefully avoiding words like “sin” and “judgment,” the writers observe that “. . . if you’re like the rest of us, you have committed (even inadvertently) unfavorable actions, and it is possible that you will experience some degree of chaos.” It goes on to say that through Kabbala, you can make sure that your slate is “wiped clean.” Again, there is no mention of sin, atonement, forgiveness or even God.
An invitation is given, “Join us for Rosh Hashanah and take control of what happens in your coming year.”
We found an interesting web page from “Adventure Rabbi” in Colorado. They boast a different sort of non-traditional approach to the holidays:
“These are not your parents’ High Holiday services!
- Are the mountains your true spiritual home?
- Do you feel most “connected” when you are outside hiking, biking or simply being?
- Don’t you wish Judaism could be like that?
“Imagine celebrating Rosh Hashanah in the mountains, hiking, practicing yoga, mountain biking, and singing, with services led by the ‘Adventure Rabbi.’
“Leave your fancy clothing at home and come pray 9,000 feet closer to God!”
A more traditional Jewish outlook on Rosh Hashanah can be found at: http://www.holidays.net/highholydays/rosh.htm and a traditional Jewish look at Yom Kippur can be found at: http://www.holidays.net/highholydays/yom.htm
For an interesting article on the shofar (ram’s horn) that is a key element of Rosh Hashanah, go to: http://www.holidays.net/highholydays/shofar.htm
You may even be able to “blow the shofar” online!