Posts Tagged: CCAR

Eileh Ezkerah: Memorializing Jewish Martyrs on Yom Kippur



By Rabbi Richard Sarason Memorialization of deceased relatives and of Jewish martyrs has figured in the liturgical observances of Yom Kippur since the massacre of approximately 8,000 Rhineland Jews at the time of the First Crusade (1096). Indeed, many of the Jewish mourning customs that have continued down to our own day originated in that […]

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The Music of Seder Ha’avodah



By Cantor Judith Ovadia The Avodah service of Yom Kippur (Seder Ha’Avodah) challenges us as Reform Jews. It depicts an ancient, archaic rite that is anathema to our modern practice, with elements that likely offend our sensibilities. Without close examination it offers little opportunity to enrich our experience of the holy on Yom Kippur. The architects of Reform […]

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Seder Ha-Avodah



By Rabbi Edwin Goldberg In the traditional machzor, the Seder Ha-Avodah (literally “Service of the Sacrificial Cult”) occurs on Yom Kippur during the musaf (additional) service. In Gates of Repentance, the Reform machzor published in 1978, there is no musaf service itself, but the Seder Ha-Avodah is featured in the afternoon service for Yom Kippur. […]

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Yom Kippur: Seder Ha’avodah



By Rabbi Richard Sarason More than any other biblical mo’ed (appointed time), Yom Kippur is pre-eminently a Temple-based observance.  True, all Israelites were to fast on that day, but the ritual described in Leviticus 16 is exclusively focused on the Temple.  It is about the purgation and purification of the sanctuary, the locus of the […]

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Yom Kippur Torah Service: Emulating God



By Cantor Cheryl Wunch There are many different themes that appear throughout our Yom Kippur liturgy.  Obviously, the themes of repentance, returning, and renewal are the ones that most immediately come to mind.  We speak and sing of our sins, our need for forgiveness, and our desire to start again with a clean slate.  The […]

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Yom Kippur Torah Readings – A Creative Approach



By Rabbi Edwin Goldberg A couple of years ago, the core editorial team1 of the forthcoming Reform High Holy Day prayer book met with Dr. Marc Brettler, a scholar of Bible at Brandeis University.  We wanted to learn from him about possible alternative readings from the Torah on Yom Kippur day.  The traditional reading for the […]

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Torah and Haftarah Readings for Yom Kippur



By Rabbi Richard Sarason On Yom Kippur, the Torah is read in both the morning and afternoon services.  This emulates the traditional reading practice on Shabbat (indeed, Yom Kippur is called shabbat shabbaton in Lev. 23:32 – literally, “a day of complete rest,” but understood homiletically to mean “the most important of Sabbaths”).1 The Mishnah […]

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Sounds of Penitence: The Music of Selichot



By Cantor Hayley Kobilinsky It may seem strange, but I wish to begin with a very Jewish, and yet not at all Jewish phrase: “Bless me, Father, for I have sinned.” These words are what a Catholic person says upon entering Confession, or at least that is how we all see it portrayed in television […]

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Selichot and Reform Judaism: “I’m Gonna Wait to the Midnight Hour”



By Rabbi Edwin Goldberg When I was growing up at a large Reform temple in Kansas City, a sign of my relative maturity was being allowed to attend the yearly Selichot service.  This service was held usually on the Saturday night before Rosh HaShanah and ended right at midnight.  This meant I got to stay up […]

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Selichot: Poems that Ask for Forgiveness



by Dr. Richard Sarason When most North American Reform Jews hear the word “selichot,” they likely think of the late Saturday night service with this name that precedes Rosh Hashanah by roughly a week and introduces the penitential season. But why is this service called Selichot? Because its liturgy is comprised primarily of a genre of […]

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Vidui: Atonement through A-tune-ment



By Cantor Daniel Singer Thanks to the creative team at G-dcast, when we arrive at the Vidui section of the High Holidaymachzor, we can truly say “there’s an app for that!” The world now has access to atonement by way of a web application called eScapegoat. That’s right – just confess your sins anonymously online to an animated goat […]

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A Sin By Any Other Name



By Rabbi Leon Morris Folks out there – colleagues and laypeople alike – feel quite strongly about the use of the word “sin” in the new machzor. Or so it seems from the feedback we’ve heard in the piloting process. But these strong feelings about the word “sin” fall into two opposite camps. There are those who […]

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Viddui: The Public Confession of Sins on Yom Kippur



By Rabbi Richard Sarason The most central liturgy of Yom Kippur is also perhaps, for moderns, the most problematic. How do we understand the words “sin” and atonement” that lie at the heart of the act of viddui, the public confession of sins that immediately follows the Amidah during each of the Yom Kippur services? Perhaps some historical […]

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Repetition vs Addition: Melody of M’chal in the Yom Kippur Amidah



By Cantor Hayley Kobilinsky There may be no better day than Yom Kippur to observe the emphasis achieved by repetition of prayer. Our siddur provides many opportunities throughout the year to highlight unique aspects of the day by adding prayers or changing melodies, such as singing the V’shamru on Shabbat or using a special melody to light the Chanukkiah. The majority […]

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