Reflecting on the Days of Awe | BWC September Newsletter

Dear BWC Community,
Growing up in a secular Jewish home, the only sign of the High Holidays was my father going to temple. I understood without him ever telling me explicitly that he did this to pay tribute to his Orthodox Jewish mother. I grew up lacking understanding of the meaning of the high holy days.
As an adult rather than reclaiming the High Holidays for myself, I claimed them. All of them. Not just Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, but the ten days contained in between known as the Days of Awe. In the summer I spend as much time in nature as possible. As August draws to a close, I watch for the familiar signs of what's to come. The first fall leaf always arrives even before the autumn chill. There is a quiet sadness, even now as an adult, that the freedom of summer is ending. And then there is a quiet excitement as I look ahead to the Days of Awe. 
I start to prepare, mentally, spiritually for this time of deep reflection.I look to see how many pages are left in my journal, will I need a new one for the New Year? I scan my heart and mind for the places that will need my attention. I look at my calendar and attempt to make space to live out my intentions. I don't want the Days of Awe to pass as any other week and a half would; I want to feel the possibility that these days hold and to make space for that possibility in my life. In this year in which we have witnessed a jarring uncovering of white supremacy, racism and anti-semitism, that feels especially important. Our Jewish traditions provide an anchor and a path forward in the struggle towards justice.
In just two weeks we will gather and open the Days of Awe together with our Rosh Hashanah service. Collectively, we have claimed the High Holidays as our own. No matter what our orientation to Judaism is, we come together to make meaning for ourselves and our community. As our community continues to grow, we attempt to stretch and grow along with it.
Physically, we have outgrown our High Holidays space. In the coming year, we need your help finding a larger space that can more comfortably fit all of us in 2018. This year, we are being creative about providing more seats.
As we reach across generations to understand how secular and spiritual intersect for each of us, you may notice some subtle changes in this years High Holiday services. We're grateful to the intergenerational team who worked to craft these services with the intention of slowing down, allowing us to sink more deeply into ourselves while creating more space for self reflection.
I look forward to moving into this time with you, as a community.
With love,
Jen Kiok
Executive Director
Join us for secular High Holidays services! Rooted in a Jewish commitment to social justice, we have created unique programs of readings, reflection, and singing for Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. The High Holidays are the most highly attended gatherings of the year at Boston Workmen's Circle. They inspire, uplift, and remind us of the power of community.
Whatever your level of Jewish knowledge - however you might define your own spirituality - we invite you to join us for:
ROSH HASHANAH - THURSDAY, SEPT. 21st, 10 AM - 12 PM, potluck to follow
We are a growing, thriving community, and we are outgrowing our high holidays venue. For next year, we are seeking your help to secure a bigger venue. This year, we are making the following changes to ensure our services are accessible and comfortable for everyone: 
1. Pre-registration is REQUIRED. Services WILL sell out.
2. We will be seating people starting at 9:15 AM. Seating is on a first-come first-serve basis. 
3. To guarantee your seat, please arrive by 9:50
4. We have a new format for our Children's High Holiday service. It will now be CONCURRENT with Rosh Hashanah services 10 AM - 12 PM. Children's service is filling up fast, it will be capped at 35 and we will have a waiting list.

Featured Events & Programs: Please Join Us! 
Young Adult Shabes Potluck
Friday, September 8th, 6:30 - 9:00 PM, 1762 Beacon St. Brookline
BWC Young Adults are invited to come together to welcome in shabes with song! Facilitated by David Schwartz and Roz Freeman, this will be a space for all of us to end our week with the tone we need -- whether that be a cathartic and raucous Yiddish tune or a meditative and ancient niggun (wordless melody). We'll learn the tunes together and explore their meaning and relevance to a contemporary, secular and/or spiritual Shabes practice. Learn more.
Songs of the Steppes & the Shtetl Concert with Polina Skovoroda-Shepherd
Saturday, September 16th, 8:00 PM, Third Life Studio, 33 Union Square, Somerville
Enjoy an evening of old and new songs in Yiddish and Russian with world music traveler Polina Skovoroda-Shepherd. Experience an explosive mixture of powerful dance rhythms and profound melodies of the Steppes and the Shtetl spiced up by Tatar Bazaars and washed down with fishermen's songs from Odessa. Sponsored by the BWC Yiddish Committee. Admission is $20. Learn more.

Circle Book Group: "Jacob's Legacy" by David Goldstein 

Sunday, September 17th, 10:15 AM - 12:15 PM, Medford
Join us to discuss a new book each month with bagels, coffee and socializing! This is an open group that welcomes all readers interested in expanding their understanding of the wide variety of Jewish experiences throughout history and across the world. Learn more.
"Yiddish in the Digital Age" with Eitan Kensky & Saul Noam Zaritt
Sunday, September 17th, 7:30 PM, 1762 Beacon St. Brookline
The discussion will look at the intersection of Yiddish and technology: today's communication tools that make the language and culture accessible to students and enthusiasts alike, and the possibilities of emerging technologies. The speakers will show examples from their work, other important Yiddish digital initiatives, and examples of the kinds of digital projects that they would like to see in Yiddish Studies. The talk will primarily be in English.  Learn more.
Young Adult Tashlich

Wednesday, September 20th, 6:30 PM, Jamaica Pond Boathouse 
Join the BWC young adult community for our erev Rosh Hashanah potluck and Tashlich ritual! A perfect time to schmooze with friends, reflect on the injustices of the past year, and imagine a radical future for the upcoming new year. Ritual at the pond followed by potluck at a member's home nearby. Learn more
Would you enjoy singing in a spirited and harmonious multi-generational chorus? A Besere Velt is a great place to give it a try! A Besere Velt sings in Yiddish, English, and other languages to help preserve culture and fight for social justice. 

 Learn more.

Register for Fall Yiddish Classes
Classes start Monday, September 25th (Beginner & Advanced classes) & Tuesday, September 26th (Advanced Beginner & Intermediate classes)
If you're looking for Yiddish language classes in Boston, you've come to the right place. Our instructors are passionate about Yiddish and are experienced educators. Whether you are a complete beginner or grew up speaking the language, we have a class that will accommodate you. Learn more
Ongoing Meetings, Classes, Events
Jewish Muslim Relations Committee Meeting
WednesdaySeptember 6th, 7:00 PM, Contact Laura for address
Through political action, relationship building, and community education, the Jewish Muslim Relations Committee works to foster positive connections between Jews and Muslims in Greater Boston and joins with the Muslim community in opposing Islamophobia in all its manifestations. Join us for our first meeting of the year! Learn more
Meet up with fellow Yiddish-speaking young adults to share a meal, have a game night, play music, or just redn a yidish vort (speak a little Yiddish). Contact Lily at for location. Learn more.
Immigrant Justice & Sanctuary Working Group Meeting
Sunday, September 10th, 6:30 - 8:00 PM, 1762 Beacon St., Brookline
Join the Immigrant Justice and Sanctuary (IJS) Working Group at our first meeting of the year! As we are sending out this newsletter, Trump's administration is repealing DACA. Come to this meeting to learn about and discuss ways to combat the growing threats to immigrant communities in the Greater Boston area. Learn more.
First day of Teens Acting for Social Change
Sunday, September 10th, 10:30 AM, Runkle School 
Teens Acting for Social Change (TASC) is a group of energized teens making a difference in our world. TASCers build community, learn about social justice issues, and take action. Learn more and join today.
First day of Shule Sunday School & Parent Assembly
Sunday, September 10th, 10:30 AM 
Our Jewish Cultural Sunday School engages children grades K-7 in an exploration of Jewish identity rooted in Jewish cultural literacy and traditions of social justice. Through an educational experience based on both classroom learning and community building, the Sunday School (Shule in Yiddish) curriculum emphasizes Jewish history, culture and progressive ideals that shape our identity and values as a people. Learn more. 
First day of Circle Playtime
Sunday, September 17th, 10:30 AM, Runkle School
Looking for a way your littlest children can participate? Have a child who's not old enough for Sunday School,or who's tagging along with an older sibling? Join Circle Playtime, a free monthly playgroup for children ages 0-4, accompanied by parents. Learn more.
Boston Workmen's Circle Yiddish vinkls, or conversation groups, meet twice a month in different member homes. Whatever your level of Yiddish, this is an opportunity to sharpen your Yiddish skills in a comfortable and informal setting. Drop in anytime! All generations welcome. Learn more.
  • SOMERVILLE: Thursday, September 14th8-10 PMFor location and directions, contact Mike or Linda at
  • BROOKLINE: Monday, September 18th7:30-9:30 PM1731 Beacon Street, #319, Brookline.  

We will kick off our AFREJ planning for the year on Wednesday, September 27th. This is a great time for new folks to get involved with the committee and help form our goals for the year ahead! Learn more. 

Looking ahead to October 
Around the Circle - Useful BWC Community Information
A Sheynem Dank
Have some gratitude for your BWC community?  
Email Michelle 
 to post it to the newsletter!
Last month we gathered for a day-long retreat last week with 30 members of our board, staff, and leadership. We discussed ways we are growing as an intergenerational/interfaith/multiracial community, evolving our mission, and strategizing for our future! Thank you to all of our members who are doing so much work to lead this organization. Click here to see photos from the retreat
News of the Mishpokhe
Life news? Graduation? Promotion? Simcha? What's new? Email Michelle and share it with the community.
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Boston Workmen's Circle is sustained by our members. If you believe in keeping secular progressive Jewish tradition alive and thriving for generations to come, please join us! Find out about BWC membership or sign up now!
Get More Plugged In @ BWC
Interested in joining a committee? We've got something for everyone with Yiddish, Shabes, Ritual, Adult Ed, Acting for Racial and Economic Justice, Middle East Working Group, Jewish-Muslim Relations, Aging in Community, Shule, Young Adults, and Caring. Email Liz to learn more about our diverse committees!
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