Saturday, September 15, 2012

Shalom Dear Friends,
Below I introduced this survey at our Slichot educational program before the services begain last Saturday evening. Everyone filled it out and the results led into a fruitful discussion. Are you ready for the High Holy Days? Take the survey and find out. Shanah Tova Tikatevu.
High Holy Days Readiness Survey                  
September 8th 2012
Rabbi Brad Bloom
The purpose of this survey is to assess your readiness for the High Holy Days. You will find questions that cover a broad range of issues that come up in preparation for these special days in our religious calendar. By participating in this assessment, you will determine if you feel like you are ready to participate in the experience of Rosh Hashana, the Ten Days of Repentance and, finally, Yom Kippur. The decision of whether or not you are ready is yours alone. The hope is that by filling out this assessment survey you might consider addressing those issues which tradition teaches are important for each of us to consider getting the most out of these holy days. Remember that readiness is a relative term and can be defined differently by each individual. Thank you for being honest with yourself as you answer these questions.
Section One: Social readiness
1.    Are you an invited guest or hosting guests for a Rosh Hashana meal or reception? Circle yes or no
2.    Do you have a place to go for the Break the Fast after Yom Kippur? Circle yes or no
3.    If the answer to questions one or two is no would you like to be a guest at someone’s home for Rosh Hashana or Yom Kippur?  Circle yes or no
4.    Have you or a member of your immediate family purchased, or plan to purchase special foods for Rosh Hashana? Circle Yes or No.
5.    Do you plan to send High Holy Day greetings i.e. a card or electronic message to family and friends? Circle yes or no
6.    Will you visit with your relatives or will they visit you for the Holy Days? Circle yes or no
7.    Will you speak to friends and or family during the high holy days? Circle yes or no
8.    Do you believe it is appropriate to dress up for the High Holy Days? Circle yes or no
9.    Have you thought about what you might wear to services? Circle yes or no
10.                       Have you thought about coordinating efforts to sit with someone or with other couples at services? Circle yes or no

Worship Readiness
1.    Are you planning to attend any of the High Holy Days services? Circle yes or no
2.    Will you review the prayerbook in anticipation of attending the services? Circle yes or no
3.    Can you identify a favorite prayer that you look forward to reciting in the services? Circle yes or no –for extra credit can you name that prayer?
4.    Are you able to put yourself in the mood for worship? Circle yes or no-for extra credit please describe how you prepare yourself for services.
5.    What kind of sermons do you want to hear from Rabbi Bloom?
a.     Current events-circle yes or no
b.    Israel- circle yes or no
c.     Ethics in our daily living- circle yes or no
d.    Spiritual challenges in our lives-circle yes or no
e.     Add any other general category of topics for extra credit
6.    Do you usually like to talk about the sermons after services? Circle yes or no
7.    Do you use any of the following terms in greeting fellow congregants? L’shana Tova or Gut Yuntif-circle yes or no
8.    Do you have a favorite ritual in the services? Circle yes or no-for extra credit please identify the ritual.
9.    Is there a moment in the services that consistently evokes strong feelings that are difficult for you? Circle yes or no –for extra credit please cite an example
10.           Do you believe you are responsible for feeling inspired at services? Circle yes or no.  If so, please explain how. If not please explain why.

Spiritual Soul-Work Readiness
1.    Can you think of someone close to you that you owe an apology to that person for your actions over the course of the past year? Circle yes or no
2.    What are the chances that you will actually ask forgiveness from that person?
a.     No chance-circle yes or no
b.    Maybe, I am still thinking about it. Circle yes or no
c.     Yes, I plan to approach that person to offer an apology-circle yes or no
3.    Can you think of someone who you know owes you an apology? Circle yes or no
4.    What are the chances that if you they did ask forgiveness that you would accept their apology?
a.     Definitely –circle yes or no
b.    Not ready yet-circle yes or no
c.     I will have to give it more thought. Circle yes or no
5.    Do you believe that God cares about whether you pray or not? Circle yes or no
6.    Do you believe that Judaism’s idea of a god who dispenses judgment and or mercy is a good thing? Circle yes or no
7.    The prayerbook says that giving Tzedakah (financial resources), Prayer and Repentance are critical mitzvoth during the High Holy Days. Do you think it is appropriate to ask the congregation to give extra Tzedakah at this time of the year? If so what would be the most important cause you would chose to donate funds to the congregation.
8.    Is there one social issue that we as a society should examine and change in order for there to be a more just world? Circle yes or no. For extra credit can you give an example?
9.    Is there a conflict on the world scene that is a threat to human rights which personally concerns you enough that you will consider in your prayers this year? Circle yes or no and for extra credit please give an example.
10.                       How would you determine if your experience over the high holy days was meaningful to you? Please cite one example.
11.                       Based upon your answers to this survey of your readiness for the experience of the High Holy Days how would you rate yourself? Please circle the answer that best fits your viewpoint.
a.     I am not interested in being ready for the High Holy Days.
b.    I am currently getting in the mood for the message of the High Holy Days.
c.     I haven’t really thought about it and generally don’t do so until I am actually in the services.
d.    I don’t usually prepare myself that way but now that I have taken this survey I will give it more thought before I attend services.
12.                       Do you have any final comments about what it means to prepare oneself for the High Holy Days? Please explain

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