Monday, October 1st - 10am at the shul
But what IS Shemini Atzeret?
Here's what Ritualwell has to say about it:
"Our ancestors did not want Sukkot to end, so they added an extra day to this festival—one more day to linger over the joys the holiday offered. Our celebrations look quite different now, but we too appreciate this day—and the special prayers for rain associated with it."
Read more here.
My Jewish Learning calls it "Not quite Sukkot, not quite its own holiday" - read about that over here.
But I like what Rabbi Lina and I talked about for this blog post:
The pause, tarry, piece comes from an explanation that all the nations of the world come to Jerusalem to celebrate sukkot. It's truly universal, welcoming everyone into the Temple/Sukkah.
And then, on Hoshana Rabba, the other nations return home and G!d says to the Israelites: linger with me another day. Which I find both lovely and complicated. So it's not so much pause, but linger.
It's a bit of "say goodbye to the holiday season".
And, yes, Shemini Atzeret is the day that the liturgy changes from praying for dew to praying for rain. We're in the Israeli climate here, which has a rainy season and a dry season and was an agricultural society, so rain was truly a matter of life and death. We'll include the special prayer for rain in our service on October 1 - and maybe play with it a little, too.
And yes, the main draw for people on Shemini Atzeret has been the fact that yizkor, the prayer for the dead, is traditionally recited and there are a bunch of people who gather for yizkor, and we'll do that, too. But, we'll also linger.
So maybe the phrase should be: a sacred gathering. That's kind of a translation of atzeret, and it'll bring out the sense of community for yizkor."