Rabbi Mark Zimmerman
Rabbi Mark Zimmerman

Rabbis in Reporter Newspapers communities say they seek to provide inspiration and healing in sermon topics.

In Dunwoody, Rabbi Mark Zimmerman, of the Congregation Beth Shalom, compares the importance of Rosh Hashanah to the Super Bowl. “It’s the Super Bowl of Jewish spirituality,” he said. “It’s an opportunity to take stock of life, pause and see where we are as individuals and as a community.”

It’s a time when Rabbi Analia Bortz, of Congregation Or Hadash in Sandy Springs, leads her congregation “to show with pride who we are by the contributions we’ve done for the

Rabbi Analia Bortz

world.”

Her sermon will speak out against the vandalism in synagogues and the murder of Jewish reporters in Europe, and she said she will call her congregation to action without vengeance. “The idea is about taking action by producing more contributions to the world,” she said.

Zimmerman said the high holy holidays involve spiritually reconnecting to our world, which is often driven by secular concerns.

Rabbi Neil Sandler

“We don’t have as much time to pause and ask why we’re here and what is this life all about,” he said,

Part of taking stock is what is going on in the larger community, Zimmerman said, noting the “frightening growth of anti-Semitism around the world.” He described a sanctuary, which is required to have windows, and how those windows remind those inside of the outside world.

“People are disconnecting spiritually. Oour job is to reconnect them spiritually to the Jewish community,” Zimmerman said. “Anti-Zionism is the new anti-Semitism.”

Rabbi Hayyim Kassorla

Rabbi Neil Sandler of Ahavath Achim Synagogue in Buckhead also plans to discuss Israel during Rosh Hashanah.

“I’ve been a rabbi more than 30 years, and I try to bring a message of current import, like this sermon, and then I always want to make certain I bring a more personally introspective and personal message also,” Sandler said.

Rabbi Hayyim Kassorla, of Congregation Or Veshalom in Brookhaven, said he will talk about healing after a difficult summer, noting one of the central prayers of Rosh Hashanah asks to let the year end with all its curses and negativity, and let the new year bring blessings.

“We need to focus on the positive, the miracles of the land of Israel, the miracles of the Jewish people and the miracle of Jewish existence, and the hope of a serene and joyous new year,” he said.