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AHC Havurah Newsletter

Vol 1, August 2012
Ken and Flora Wilsker

Some of you already know that we have just moved our home and jobs from Indianapolis, Indiana, USA to Louisville, Kentucky, USA. For those of you who are not familiar with the South/Midwest, Louisville is just a 2 hour drive south of Indianapolis and only 4 hours from AHC world headquarters in St. Louis, Missouri. We hope to continue meeting with our Havurah in Indianapolis and to begin a new one in Louisville. (Do you know anyone who would like to be part of a Havurah in Louisville?) All this moving made it a challenge to find the time to pull this first Havurah Newsletter together, but with G-d’s grace, here it is. We are very excited to bring you this Havurah newsletter. Our hope is that you will be able to use these materials for your Havurot, and where applicable, within your families.

From an article on the AHC web site entitled, Why AHC Havurot?, David Moss writes, “I believe that the AHC Havurot will provide a place where people can meet to celebrate Jewish holy days and feasts within the context of our Catholic faith.” With this vision in mind, we want to assist you in your celebration of the Fall Feasts of Israel and bring you to a deeper understanding of the heritage that we all share as Catholics. We are dedicating this first issue to Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, and Sukkot because these are the next feasts to come.

Fortunately, there are already some excellent materials on the feasts which are published in The Hebrew Catholic from past years, so we have compiled these for you in this letter for easier access. There are links to the materials provided for you to use as personal study aids and to email to your members. Where members are not connected electronically, feel free to print out the materials and distribute.

We plan to use the Hebrew Catholic liturgical calendar for the basis of several newsletters. We welcome and encourage you to offer feedback on how you used the materials in your Havurot so we can share them here with each other. Please send your feedback and your photos to us.

We are aware that many of our havurot members are not from Jewish upbringing, yet you have a heart to understand the Jewish roots of our Catholic faith. Thanks be to G-d for each of you. We want to be sure that we give you some materials that allow you to build your knowledge base for the biblical roots of these Feasts.

The Hebrew calendar is based on the lunar cycle, versus our modern calendar which is based on the solar calendar. So every year, the feasts will fall on different dates. Here are the dates of this year’s High Holidays:

Rosh Hashanah begins the Jewish New Year of 5773.

Rosh Hashanah: Sundown Sunday, Sept 16 through sundown Sept. 18.
Yom Kippur: Sundown Tuesday, Sept 25 through sundown Sept. 26.
Sukkot: Sundown Sunday, Sept 30 and runs through to Oct 7.

For more specific information on each of the Feasts, you can go to the following links.

On the Biblical and Theological meaning and for a short service that can be used in your havurot and families, visit the following for Rosh Hashanah. The same can be found on Yom Kippur. And for Sukkot.

Of course, no Jewish or Catholic celebration would be complete without food! So here are some traditional foods that would accompany Rosh Hashanah and Sukkot.

The Jewish Holidays have always been a time to pray for the Peace of Jerusalem (Psalm 122) and the salvation of all Israel (Romans 11:25-26). We pray and fast for the salvation of all Israel and all the nations. We spend time with family, and most of all, we enter into remembering how G-d has preserved Israel and the Church. We share these stories and Feasts with all Catholics and Christians, and this will help build a bridge of love and faith between Jews, Catholics, Hebrew Catholics, Messianic Jews, and all Christians. Together, we make a collective witness to those of other faiths that Jesus is the Messiah and Savior of the whole world. Our prayer for you is that you are able to use these materials in the Newsletter to enrich your celebration and keep the collective witness and memory of the People Israel alive in the Church until the return of our Messiah, Jesus!

For those havurot who meet weekly, you can use the materials to celebrate and study each Feast, but for those havurot who meet less often, this will be an occasion to be creative in how you incorporate the Feasts into your meetings. Perhaps it is easier to celebrate Rosh Hashanah as a group, and then honor the Fast of Yom Kippur individually. Let us know what you come up with, and we can share with each other.

We are planning to meet with our Havurah close to the start of Rosh Hashanah. We will use the short prayer service as written on the website and sit down for a meal. We will have challah with apples and honey. We are not sure of the exact menu yet, but we have plenty of materials from which to choose a suitable menu. We will blow the shofar so that we have the blessing of hearing the shofar as we prepare our hearts to celebrate the New Year, but also to prepare ourselves for the self examination that comes with the 10 Days of Awe, between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. We plan to celebrate the Atonement that was won for us on the Cross by our Messiah. We are aware of our sinfulness, and we stand in awe of the forgiveness that comes through Jesus in the Sacrament of Reconciliation. What a perfect time to be sure to go to Confession at least once during this period, and to Holy Mass as often as we can, as we celebrate our Atonement in the Eucharist.

May You be Inscribed in the Book of Life, and in Him who is our Life, our Messiah, Jesus, we wish you a Blessed New Year.

Ken and Flora Wilsker