Rabbi Barney Brickner of the Wood River Jewish Community has a few things up his sleeves, one of which is an eagerly anticipated new prayer book.
But first, he will open the offices at 471 Leadville Ave. in Ketchum for a social gathering Thursday, Dec. 27, from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m.
"Hanukkah was early this year," Brickner said. "We want to welcome our seasonal members and those who missed our Hanukkah party."
Brickner said there will be wine, cheese and contemporary recorded music by Jewish artists such as Sam Glaser and Joe Black.
Todd Herzog, who last visited over High Holy days in September, will be the soloist at the new members' Shabbat service on Friday, Dec. 28. An Arizona resident, Herzog is a graduate of the New England Conservatory of Music, where he majored in jazz and vocal performance. Besides being a recorded pop singer, Herzog travels around the country working as a soloist in various congregations.
Brickner said one of the most exciting aspects of the coming year will be the introduction of the Mishkan T'filah, the first new siddur (prayer book) for the North American Reform Movement in more than 30 years. Introduced at the 69th Union of Reformed Judaism's biennial convention in San Diego earlier this month, it includes services for Shabbat, weekdays, festivals and other occasions of public worship, as well as more than 100 songs. It also has a broad selection of readings, including passages from the Reform liturgical tradition, great poetic writings from throughout Jewish history and translations in contemporary, gender-inclusive English.
Also at the convention, Rabbi Eric Yoffie, president of the union, asked the more than 5,000 attendees to support state coalitions for universal health care, to improve relations with their Muslim neighbors and to renew the Saturday morning Shabbat tradition.
The "stressed-out, sleep-deprived" families need a day when they "stop running around long enough to see what God is doing," Yoffie said in his speech.