Posts Tagged: *Rosh HaShanah
Rabbi Rick Jacobs

Two-Fold High Holiday Prep: Our Congregations and Ourselves



As congregational leaders, you may find that the month of Elul and the High Holidays fly by in a whirl of logistical details – arranging for tickets, ensuring enough chairs, assigning aliyot, planning the community’s break-the-fast – necessary to ensure meaningful worship for members and visitors alike. That is indeed holy work. In your role, […]

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14 Ways to Make Your High Holidays Services Accessible to Everyone



A sweet new year begins with audacious hospitality, making sure everyone feels welcome in the Jewish community. As part of High Holiday preparation, congregations can take a number of simple steps to help create an accessible and sacred space for people of all abilities so that everyone can fully participate. Ask people what they need. […]

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First (Probably) Annual Rosh HaShanah Sermon Round-Up



What did Reform rabbis talk to their congregations about this Rosh HaShanah? Based on my totally non-scientific survey, Israel was far and away the most popular topic. (Read on for links to sermons by rabbis Block, Bob, Davidson, Gropper, Gurvis, A. Hirsch, Kipnes, Kaufman, Ottenstein, and Prosnit.) That is true many years, and given the […]

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Engage Jewish Youth During the High Holiday Season



With the High Holidays approaching, congregations are considering new ways to effectively connect to more youth at this vital time in the Jewish calendar. If your synagogue is among those looking at new approaches this year, consider the following variables: Make sure the program content is varied. Teens need spirituality, but are also drawn to […]

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Eight Ways Your Congregation Can Be More Welcoming for the High Holidays



The High Holidays are a special time in the Jewish calendar, a time when many unaffiliated Jews (those who are not members of a congregation) may feel the need to connect to the broader Jewish community. Even if they don’t attend synagogue throughout the year, the High Holidays may inspire these individuals and their families […]

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10 Years of Ten Minutes of Torah

The Gates are Closing, and God’s Hand is Outstretched



By Rabbi Edwin Goldberg The N’ilah service on late Yom Kippur afternoon is notable for its image of the Gates of Repentance closing their doors.  At this late and hungry hour, for the final time during the Day of Atonement, we are summoned to repentance.  The fact that many Sages argue we can actually delay […]

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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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It’s Never Too Late To Engage Our Teens



During Rosh HaShanah this year, one of “my” teens was invited to give the High Holy Day appeal during services. The board and professional staff of Temple Beth-El in San Pedro, CA, where I work, recognizes the power that teens hold and understands that they are the future of the temple. The teen they asked was someone who had felt disenfranchised from the synagogue and was pulled back in by his peers, youth programming and the idea of building his own youth group community.

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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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