A Letter from President Stephen E. Frank: High Holy Days at CBST
"I want to tell you about the first time I brought my parents to CBST's Open Door High Holiday services."
I want to tell you about the first time I brought my parents to CBST's Open Door High Holiday services.
I brought them to Kol Nidre at CBST because I believed - and still believe - it is one of the most beautiful and moving religious services anywhere in the world. But I also knew that they would be a tough audience. When I was a kid growing up in suburban Detroit, my family never joined a synagogue because my parents could never agree on which one to join.
My father, a secular Jew who grew up attending a Reform synagogue in Pittsburgh - where young adults were confirmed, not bar mitzvahed - felt uncomfortable in a Conservative shul. But my mother, who grew up in Tel Aviv, felt equally out-of-place in any of Detroit's Reform congregations, with their pipe organs and services conducted almost entirely in English. And so, we never belonged.
But on that Kol Nidre night, both my parents were hooked - for many of the same reasons I'd fallen in love with CBST a decade earlier. They were inspired by the words of our rabbis, moved by the music of our community chorus, and awed to be surrounded in prayer by nearly 4,000 people of all different races and socioeconomic backgrounds, all different sexual orientations and gender identities, and all different religious upbringings.
They both felt they belonged at CBST in a way that neither of them had previously imagined possible.
This past year, for the first time in my life, my parents joined a synagogue. And though they still live in suburban Detroit, their synagogue is CBST. CBST is where they spend their High Holidays. CBST is where they feel at home.
And none of this would have been possible without CBST's Open Door program, through which our High Holiday services - and, indeed, all our services throughout the year - are open to anyone, member or not, without a ticket and without charge.
But keeping CBST's doors open to all is an expensive undertaking, and it is one that requires each of us to do our part.
Remember how you felt the first time you attended CBST's Kol Nidre service - or the first time you brought someone you love. And help us make that feeling possible for someone new this year.
No one, no matter their socioeconomic status, should be without a spiritual home during the most holy of weeks in the Jewish year.
I am writing today to ask you to contribute to this year's Open Door campaign. With your help, we can continue to welcome our family, friends and extended community to once again join us this year.
Please give generously to CBST's Open Door. Donate here.
The High Holidays come early this year - Rosh Hashana on September 8 - 10 and Yom Kippur on September 17 - 18. I hope you'll join us for CBST's High Holiday services - and take a moment to register here .
Thank you for your support.
Stephen E. Frank