Discussion Groups

High Holiday Discussion Groups to Nourish the Spirit

Among JRC’s extensive High Holiday programs, Discussion Groups are a favorite tradition. Offered on the second day of Rosh Hashanah and on Yom Kippur, these groups are led by JRC members and others on a range of topics and themes related to the High Holidays. This year is no exception. Enjoy.

Second Day Rosh Hashanah, October 4, 11:30 am at JRC


Repair The World 
Peace Dialogue

Every act of youth violence destroys more than one life - the victim, the aggressor, their families and their friends all suffer disgrace. When violence occurs, we all then must respond - restoring the victim, rehabilitating the aggressor, and tackling systemic failures that lead to violence and brand aggressors as "other." Please join Patrick Keenan-Devlin, Executive Director of the James B. Moran Center for Youth Advocacy, for a discussion about the work being done to "repair the world" locally and what you can do to restore the broken and brokenness within our community. 

Rosh Ha’Shinui; The Beginning of Transformation
Led by Maggid Al Goldberg

T’shuvah literally means “return”. To spiritually “return” is a process of re-alignment with the Divine Presence within us and around us, and with family and community. Engaging in t’shuvah requires deep personal honesty (not destructive hyper-criticality), and a willingness to allow God to co-partner our return.     -Rabbi Marsha Prager

Join us as we explore these topics:

  • Al Cheyt.  We have sinned. What do we mean by sin?
  • The word kavanah, is an archery term and means “to intend to hit the target”.
  • The word Cheyt, is also an archery term and means “to miss the target”… where our lives are not whole and integrated.
  • What is the target?  To be aligned both within ourselves and with the world around us…To be living our unique story.
  • On Yom Kippur, we read in Leviticus 16:1 – 16:34 the Torah instruction for Aaron to sacrifice two goats, (please read this as preparation for the discussion).  How does this Torah reading inform us about t’shuvah and the beginning a transformation in our lives?

Additional readings on T’shuvah will be available during the week prior to Rosh Hashanah.

Yom Kippur, October 12, 2:00 pm


"Day of Awe" by Edith Pearlman
Short story discussion led by Carol Friedman:

Set in an unnamed Latin American country, the short story "Day of Awe" by Edith Pearlman explores the meaning of Yom Kippur and different ways to observe the holiest of holidays, both individually and collectively. Download the story here. 


Gratitude by Oliver Sacks
JRC Book Group discussion for Yom Kippur- Jill Berkeley

During his last 2 years of life, the famous neurologist and author, Dr. Oliver Sacks, wrote four moving essays, published in The New York Times, reflecting on his life and facing mortality. In Dr. Sacks' words, "It is the fate of every human being to be a unique individual, to find his own path, to live his own life , to die his own death."  These four essays have been compiled in an inspiring 64-page book, Gratitude, which we will be discussing on Yom Kippur afternoon.  Please join the JRC Book Club for this conversation.     

Chesed: Compassion and loving kindness as a Jewish value and practice.
Led by Lou Weiss

According to Torah, the world was created out of acts of loving kindness. We will discuss the importance of compassion and loving kindness in our relationships, our community and in the world.

Literary Reflections
Led by Todd Hasak-Lowy

Writer, professor, and JRC board member Todd Hasak-Lowy will read and lead a discussion of a set of short poems that resonate with the themes of the holidays.
Poems for the discussion can be downloaded here. 


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