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Breathing, Connecting, Healing: Three Practices for a Post-Pandemic World, Rabbi Salomon Gruenwald’s High Holy Day Sermons 5782 (2021) 

09/28/2021 08:29:54 AM


In this year’s High Holy Day sermons, Rabbi Gruenwald made the case for three simple practices that we will need in a post-pandemic world to fortify ourselves, strengthen relationships and our synagogue community, and contribute to the revitalization of our society.   

These three linked sermons articulate a vision for the work ahead of us as a synagogue community.  If you did not get a chance to hear all three of these sermons on the holidays, we urge you to read or watch them using the links below.   

Rosh Hashanah 5782 
We All Breathe the Same Air 

In a post-pandemic world, how will we relearn how to breathe the same air with others?  Mindfulness practices like breath awareness can help us acknowledge and process the grief and losses of the last couple of years.  These practices create a more spacious field in which to move in the world, better prepared to confront one another and life’s challenges.  This inner work is the prerequisite for learning how to reconnect with others and improve our world. (Full Sermon)  

Kol Nidre 5782 
Chance Encounters: Marking a Trail Back to Community 

As we return from the isolation of the pandemic, restoring relationships and community will not be as easy as snapping back to the way things were.  We have all missed out on chance encounters – shared experiences that bond people to one another and provide opportunities to connect, related, and even work out tensions.  In the coming years, synagogues like HEA (and other houses of worships) can help us learn how to reconnect, but providing spaces for healthy and productive encounter where people learn to listen to one another with compassion.  A simple gesture like getting together for coffee with someone you haven’t seen for a while has the power to restore relationships and community.  Rabbi Gruenwald is embarking on a listening campaign with the goal of having at least 180 coffee dates in 5782. (Full Sermon)     
Yom Kippur 5782 
The Shul (or Shil) as an Incubator for Civic Engagement 

From its founding as a joint school and synagogue that brought together the sometimes-raucous Denver West Side community, The Hebrew Educational Alliance has a proud history of addressing the needs of successive generations of Denver Jewish families.  The spirit of volunteerism, civic engagement, and collaboration across lines of difference that gave birth to the Alliance in 1932 should inspire us in a post-pandemic world to come together to rebuild our community and restore the practices and dispositions that are at the foundation of a thriving synagogue and a strong democratic society. (Full Sermon)  

Thu, May 19 2022 18 Iyyar 5782