The month prior to the High Holy Days is spent in reflection.
“You spend a lot of time thinking about repentance, sin and let go of past behaviors that are damaging or hurtful,” Tuling said.
CASTING AWAY SINS
“This holiday, in addition, is gorgeous,” she said. “It has some of the best music of the year. It has the greatest participation of any of our holidays. We see our largest crowd.”
Sunday evening, a service similar to a regular evening service is held, but with much grander music.
“The liturgy, itself, has themes about sin and repentance in it. In that regard, what is different is the sermons are longer. I have been writing them for months. People wish each other a good New Year, Shanah Tovah,” Tuling said.
The service is followed by a holiday feast, which includes apples and honey, indicative of a good New Year. The round apple symbolizes the year, and honey symbolizes extra sweetness during the year.
On the second day of the Days of Awe, the shofar blasts.
“That’s a morning service. As part of the service, we do a lot of what normally happens,” Tuling said.
The Torah is read, a sermon is delivered, and there is more grand music.
“We have Shofar Service, 99 blasts. We go down to the river and cast bread, symbolically casting sins into the water. Fish and ducks love when we cast off our sins,” she said.
RETURNING TO GOD
From the third day to the eighth day, everyone’s schedule returns to normal.
Shabbat (Sabbath) is held Friday night through Saturday.
“We celebrate every Friday. It’s always a big deal. The one between (Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur) has a special name and gets a special liturgy. It’s Shabbat Shuvah (Sabbath of Return), returning to God. The loaves of bread are round this time of year to symbolize the year,” Tuling said.