THEMES OF THE SEASON: A Meaningful Exploration of the High Holy Days


Melton & More



Date & Time

Wednesdays, 10:00-11:30 am Aug. 31, Sept. 7, 14, 21

A deep and meaningul exploration of the

themes of the High Holy Days.

Course Description :

Join Dr. Sandra Lilienthal, Rabbi Norman Lipson, Rabbi Laila Haas and Rabbi Ed Farber for a meaninful journey into the themes of the High Holy Day period. This four session course will explore the themes of Teshuvah (Repentance), Sefer HaChayim (The Book of Life), the power and mystery of Kol Nidre, and the call of the Shofar

WEDNESDAYS, 10:00-11:30 am 

Dates: Aug. 31, Sept. 7, 14, 21

Session 1: TESHUVAH: A Return To The Spirtual Being with Dr. Sandra Lilienthal

As we begin approaching the High Holy Days, much is said about Teshuvah, usually translated as repentance. But what does teshuvah really mean? What are its practical and theological implications? How is it relevant to adults and children? This session will help us deepen our understanding of teshuvah, a return to the beautiful spiritual being each and every one of us is.

Session 2: SEFER HACHAIM (THE BOOK OF LIFE) with Rabbi Norman Lipson

 “The Book of Life”, though appearing only once in the liturgy of the High Holy Days, is one of the most theologically gripping as well as “jarring” concepts in Judaism. The phrase is found in the moving prayer, “U’netaneh Tokef”, along with the haunting statement:  “It is written on Rosh HaShana and sealed on Yom Kippur.” Along with multiple open-ended questions, beginning with:  “Who shall live and who shall die?”,the entire section leaves us emotionally drained and  theologically unsettled. We are forced to ask many questions:  Is it literally true?  When did it first appear?  What does it mean? Through study and discussion, these and many other questions will be raised and quite possibly, even answered. “May we all be written and sealed in the Book of Life.”

Session 3: KOL NIDRE: Powerful, & Shrouded in Mystery with Rabbi Laila Haas

The evening service of Yom Kippur begins with the chanting of Kol Nidre, one of the most emotionally intense of all Jewish prayers. It is a moving introduction to the solemnity of the Day of Atonement. Together we will explore the meaning and significance of Kol Nidre as well as the historical journey of the prayer throughout the ages.

Session 4: YOM TERUAH: A Blast That Shakes The Soul with Rabbi Ed Farber 

Rosh HaShanah is called in the Torah - Yom Teruah - the day of the Teruah which we associate with the sound of the Shofar - which in turn has become the primary symbol of the holiday and its most beloved and looked forward to ritual.  We will examine how the Shofar ritual developed and its many different interpretations over the centuries. The Ten Days of Repentance close on Yom Kippur with the service fittingly called “Neilah” - which means the closing. We will look at this unique service which has become for many the most powerful moment in Synagogue Ritual life.

About The Instructors:

Dr. Sandra Lilienthal has a Masters in Jewish Studies and a Doctorate in Jewish Education. In 2015, she received the prestigious Covenant Award for Excellence in Jewish Education. Sandra has over 25 years of experience in Jewish Education working with all ages in both Brazil and the US. For the past 15 years, Dr. Lilienthal has focused exclusively on teaching adults. She is a Melton faculty member and the author of the Pillars of Judaism curriculum. Sandra is currently working on the Living Wisdom curriculum - nine new courses being taught by Melton schools all around the world. She is a guest speaker at many synagogues in the tri-county area, presents at Limmud conferences in the US and Canada and is invited for scholar-in-residence programs around the country.
Rabbi Norman Lipson moved to Miami, FL in 1955. Following graduation from the University Miami, he  entered the Hebrew-Union College - Jewish Institute of Religion in Cincinnati, Ohio and was ordained in 1972. He has served on the national staff of the Anti-Defamation League and as spiritual leader of congregations in Mississippi, Texas, Hollywood, FL and most recently Temple Dor Dorim in Weston, where he was the Founding Rabbi, and now is Emeritus. For years, Rabbi Lipson’s been a sought-after teacher in Broward and luckily for us, now “brings his talents to North Dade/Aventura. He is married and the proud grandfather of four brilliant grandchildren (direct quote :-).

Rabbi Laila Haas is the Director of Adult Learning and Growth at CAJE. As a rabbi and educator, she is passionate about nurturing relationships, designing spaces of meaningful engagement and bringing to life the wisdom and richness of Jewish tradition. She was born and raised in Miami Beach, attended University of Miami and received her B.A. as a Judaic Studies major. She earned her Rabbinical Ordination and Masters of Hebrew Letters from Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion and a Masters of Education Administration from Xavier University. She cherishes moments that awaken spiritual curiosity, and experiencing the profound impact of Jewish learning and community.


Rabbi Ed Farber
serves as Rabbi Emeritus at Beth Torah Benny Rok Campus in North Dade. A graduate of the Jewish Theological Seminary, he is a Miami native and has served his entire Rabbinic career in three Miami congregations. Rabbi Farber brings deep scholarship to his teaching coupled with a commitment to tradition and a lively teaching style.