September 4, 2015
This Saturday night, at the close of the Sabbath, is Slichot. For the entire month preceding the High Holy Days, the mood is preparation for these annual days of Judgement in anticipation of the New Year. And this Saturday night, a week before Rosh HaShanah in particular, we are expected to reflect on our lives: What did we do right? What did we do wrong? What are we sorry for? What are we proud of? Who do we want to forgive us? Who do we forgive? The need to seek forgiveness is so powerful, that many Jews seek out others asking, “If I have done anything to wrong you or to offend you, I hope you can forgive me!”
This year at selichot is particularly meaningful for the Jewish Community of Milwaukee. During Slichot, on September 5, a group from our own Milwaukee Jewish Community, sponsored by the Milwaukee Jewish Federation, will dedicate a sculpture created by Milwaukee sculptor Richard Edelman. The sculpture, Shofar Krakow, is a 17 foot tall stainless steel construction made of broken Stars of David, and will be a memorial to those Jews who perished in the Holocaust. The location in Krakow is an open space between the historic synagogue Synagoga Tempel and the Krakow JCC in the old Jewish Quarter. The structure itself is a giant shofar – and a regular shofar will be blown at the mouthpiece of the sculpture and be amplified through the structure itself.
At this time of introspection and reflection – the dedication of the Shofar Krakow adds another layer of depth to our High Holy Days reflection. Who are we as Jews? How do we relate to our collective past? How do we remember our past while concentrating on the future?