Posts Tagged: High Holy Days
10 Years of Ten Minutes of Torah

Yom Kippur Yizkor Service



By Rabbi Richard Sarason On Yom Kippur, Yizkor memorial prayers are recited for our deceased relatives as well as for the martyrs of the Jewish people (in our own day, particularly for those who died in the Holocaust). This is an old custom, going back to the time of the Crusades in the Rhineland (11th-12th centuries). […]

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10 Years of Ten Minutes of Torah

Mincha for the New Machzor: Good Habits Replacing Bad Habits



By Edwin Goldberg The afternoon service – a tradition not usually observed in Reform Judaism – is an important part of Yom Kippur observance for Reform Jews. Not only does it help fill the time between the morning and break-the-fast; it also offers yet another opportunity for reflection and repentance. The editors of the upcoming machzor, […]

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10 Years of Ten Minutes of Torah

Eileh Ezkerah



By Rabbi Edwin Goldberg Eileh Azkara (These I Remember) is the lament that recounts the martyrdom of ten rabbis during the Roman brutality of 2000 years ago.  Their story is told twice a year, on Tisha B’av and Yom Kippur.  A key element of the telling is that these sages gave their lives, often being subjected […]

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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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How a Whole Congregation Wrote its Rabbi’s Yom Kippur Sermon



Utilizing a process called the Social Sermon, I developed my Yom Kippur morning sermon this year in partnership with Facebook Friends, TED ,and a group of insightful congregants. To be blunt, this year, the whole Congregation Or Ami wrote its rabbi’s Yom Kippur sermon. Where Great Sermon Ideas Come From Rabbis explore sermon ideas from […]

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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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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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