Happy New Year!
On Friday September 6 the Russian River Jewish Community will once again assemble in Armstrong Woods State Park’s picnic area to celebrate the Jewish New Year and to pay tribute to nature and life in a with traditional songs, dancing, readings and a potluck feast. Non-members as well as members are welcome but membership in RRJC is strongly encouraged.
The organization celebrates several holidays throughout the year including Sukkoth, Tu Bishvat, Shavuot, and Passover (with a well-attended Seder) and a Chanukah party in December. Members receive discounts to the Chanukah party and the Seder, as well as invitations to “members only” Shabbat celebrations, which are held in the private homes of, and hosted by several different members on Friday evenings throughout the year. The High Holy days gatherings, Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur (the day of atonement) are free to members.
The Rosh Hashanah celebration is particularly festive (It’s a New Years party), and the
redwood grove where it’s held, close by Austin Creek, is an example of nature at it’s showiest.
The festivities are scheduled to run from 4:30 p.m. until dark, but most people arrive early, folding chairs in tow, and enjoying an opportunity to schmooze and reconnect with people, some of whom haven’t seen one another for some time, The upbeat, festive event is attended by a diverse assemblage of people of a variety of faiths and ethnicities, and anyone who chooses to attend is always made to feel welcome and very much a part of what’s happening.
The Jubilee Klezmer Ensemble will be generously sharing their musical talents as well because, who celebrates New Years without appropriate music? Rosh Hashanah (which
literally means “head of the year”) is the first of the High Holy Days, or Yamim Noraim (“Days of Awe” in Hebrew) and is observed annually on the first two days of Tishrei, the seventh month of the Hebrew calendar. It’s described in the
Torah as a day of “Screaming or Shouting” because of the sounding of the Shofar, traditionally a ram’s (or a wild goat’s) horn and has been historically blown at the start of wars or in processions. But it’s significance during the New Year’s celebration, is to remind Jews that “God is King”. At last years RRJC celebration, three people brought and sounded a shofar. The ritual also requires wine (and/or juice), Challah (a special braided bread) and apples and honey. The ten days of celebration are concluded with Yom Kippur (a day of fasting with a feast at sundown) which, this year, is observed by RRJC oat 5 p.m., Wednesday, September 26, on Riverlane Resort Beach in Guerneville.
Family membership in RRJC is $120 and adult membership is $75. An additional option is “pay as you can (we really mean this)”
The RRJC, founded in 1987 as an educational and cultural institution, is based in Guerneville and provides an opportunity for people of all faiths to explore Jewish culture in the naturally spectacular setting that is the Lower Russian River.
Affiliated with the Jewish Federation of S.F. the Peninsula. Marin and Sonoma counties:
The contact phone number is 869-3273.