2017-09-13 / Voice at the Shore

Community Selichot service at Shirat Hayam Sept. 16

The Community Selichot Service, which spiritually prepares worshippers for the upcoming High Holidays, will be hosted this year at Shirat Hayam in Ventnor on Saturday night, September 16. An “oneg” of light refreshments begins at 9:30 p.m.; the service will start at 10:30 p.m. with a musical Havdalah.

“All are welcome to participate in this meaningful and spiritual preparation for the Days of Awe,” said Rabbi Jonathan Kremer, the Conservative rabbi at Shirat Hayam.

“It’s all about forgiveness,” Kremer explained. “Selichot are penitential liturgical poems that are recited in anticipation of Rosh Hashanah, to help us get in the mood for the Ten Days of Repentance that begins on the first day of the New Year.” The word “selichot” is the plural of the Hebrew word, “selichah,” meaning forgiveness, he added. A Selichot service, usually held on the Saturday night preceding Rosh Hashanah, consists of liturgical and musical excerpts from the High Holy Day liturgy, readings from traditional Selichot poems, and songs and texts from modern creative sources. The Community Selichot Service presented by the South Jersey Board of Rabbis and Cantors will blend medieval Hebrew texts with newer melodies and readings.

“The centerpiece of the service will be a dramatic ceremony during which we will change Torah mantles, from the yearround colorful covers to white covers special for the High Holy Days,” said Kremer. The Beth El choir will sing “Avinu Malkeinu” (in a version made famous by Barbra Streisand) and various rabbis and cantors, as well as some lay participants, will assist in leading the service, he added.

Shirat Hayam is located at 700 N. Swarthmore Avenue in Ventnor. For more information, call (609) 822-7116. 

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