Too many will sit in synagogues through this season and be equally concerned with their own economic situation as they will the state of their soul.
Rabbi Toba August likes to accentuate the positive, and the new year is no exception.
"Too often for the High Holidays, we're told about our shortcomings," August said. "I want to concentrate on what we're doing right.... We don't recognize the things we do that matter. I want us to walk out of services feeling elevated and validated and renewed."
August has reason to focus on the positive, because this summer she was made the principal spiritual leader of Adat Shalom, a Conservative synagogue in West Los Angeles. Currently, August is one of only two women to head a longstanding Conservative congregation in Los Angeles. (The other is Rabbi Sally Olins of Temple Bnai Hayim in Sherman Oaks.) Her appointment comes just as the Conservative movement is grappling with the disparity of women rabbis in the movement.
Dorothy Richman finished her rabbinical studies at the Jewish Theological Seminary of America in New York this week, and she's about to start her new life. She's off to Honduras next month, leading a group of teens on a summer service program. They'll wind up in Israel in August. After that, her plans are open.