Welcome to Times Will Tell, the weekly podcast from The Times of Israel.
This week, we are speaking with three different rabbis from the Orthodox, Conservative and Reform denominations, in Israel and the US, about their work as congregational spiritual leaders during this high holiday period that began with Rosh Hashanah on Monday night.
The first rabbi on the podcast is Rabbi Seth Farber, an American-born rabbi living in Ra’anana, Israel, where he leads the Kehillat Netivot synagogue in his neighborhood.
He talks about the logistics of running Rosh Hashanah services this year as well as some ideas from his sermon, including the destiny of the biblical Joseph who spent two years in isolation in an Egyptian prison, a formative period in his life.
Our second rabbi is Rabbi Aaron Brusso of Bet Torah Synagogue in Mount Kisco in New York.
Brusso has been grappling with the realities of coronavirus restrictions in his Conservative congregation, which has both strengthened his connection with his congregants of all ages but also limited their physical presence.
He speaks about the state of everyone’s empathy in this complicated time, followed by his second-day open letter regarding Israel to the congregation’s college students.
Finally, we hear from Rabbi Toby Manewith, a Hebrew Union College-ordained rabbi from Chicago, who will be leading services at a nearby old age home and assisted living facility.
Rabbi Manewith speaks about the particular issues confronting her aged congregation, and what they have gone through over the last period.
She speaks about a story she told the first night of Rosh Hashanah, a folktale that she hopes will help ease people’s thoughts and concerns.
Throughout the podcast, we listen to Ishay Ribo’s “Seder HaAvoda” piece, a haunting work based solely on the prayers and liturgical poems of the Yom Kippur service.
Check out this previous Times Will Tell episode: