Posts Tagged: *Rosh HaShanah

Un’taneh Tokef: The Awesome Sanctity of This Day



By Rabbi Richard Sarason In the traditional liturgy, the special character of each holiday is particularly conveyed by the piyyutim (hymns, liturgical poems) that are recited or chanted on that day. Most of these piyyutim have been omitted in Reform liturgies since the nineteenth century, out of a sense that their Hebrew diction is too arcane and their theology […]

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The Music of the Shofar Service



By Cantor Hayley Kobilinsky Tekiah! Teruah! Shevarim! Tekiah Gedolah! If these words do not evoke within you a sense of excitement that is at the core of the High Holy Days, then surely the unmistakable blast of the shofar, the ram’s horn, will.  I can still remember the anticipation of hearing the shofar blown at […]

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The New Reform Machzor and the Shofar Service



By Rabbi Edwin Goldberg Part Two: Chevruta (Intense Text Study) With A Thousand People Last week I wrote about the decision of the Machzor editors to break the shofar service into three parts, with each part appearing in a different section of the service. As I mentioned, the three parts of the shofar service carry different themes: […]

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The New Reform Machzor and the Shofar Service



By Rabbi Edwin Goldberg Part One: Don’t “Bury the Lead,” or Why We Have Placed the Shofar Service into Three Parts of the Service The traditional High Holy Day prayer book, as opposed to the Reform versions produced in the last century and more, includes a service, musaf, that evokes the ancient sacrifices.  Reform Judaism abandoned […]

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The Shofar Service: Malchiyot, Zichronot, Shofarot



By Rabbi Richard Sarason The blowing of the shofar is surely one of the high points of the Rosh Hashanah morning service. But the “Shofar Service” as the discrete entity we know today is actually a creation of Reform liturgists. Located at the end of the Torah service, before the Torah is returned to the ark, and […]

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The Music of Avinu Malkeinu



By Cantor Hayley Kobilinsky In the game “Truth-or-Dare,” I choose “truth” nearly every time. I’m not much of a dare-taker. Thus, if you and I were playing “Special Edition Truth-or-Dare: High Holy Days,” I would confess that the prayer Avinu Malkeinu provides me with both my second-favorite liturgical moment and my second-greatest pet peeve of the […]

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Avinu Malkeinu and the New Reform Machzor (Mishkan HaNefesh)



By Rabbi Edwin Goldberg Many years ago, during the Yom Kippur morning service, a certain rabbi was interrupted (albeit politely) by the oldest member of the synagogue. He asked if he could ascend the bimah and ask the rabbi a question. How could the rabbi say no? Here was the question: “On the High Holy […]

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Avinu Malkeinu: Its Meaning and Historical Background



By Rabbi Richard Sarason It is an irony of history that the very language now so controversial in Avinu Malkeinu (namely, the masculine-gendered, hierarchical images of God as “Father” and “King”) is what made this prayerful appeal so distinctive and effective for its original users. Avinu Malkeinu is a penitential litany.  That means that it […]

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The Music of the Rosh Hashanah Amidah: Part II



By Cantor Hayley Kobilinsky Anyone who has attended an Oneg Shabbat will likely notice that the prayer over the wine, the Kiddush, is significantly longer than the brief “one-liner,” “borei p’ri hagafen,” said on other days of the week. I routinely see our young people eagerly awaiting the sweet taste of their thimble-full of grape juice and […]

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The Music of the Rosh HaShanah Amidah



By Cantor Hayley Kobilinsky            Each year as I prepare for the High Holy Days, I return to the familiar melodies that make up our Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur services. I no longer need to review the unique melodies of the Rosh HaShanah Amidah (prayers said while standing), because after chanting them a dozen times per […]

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The Amidah of the High Holy Days – Sovereignty and Forgiveness



By Rabbi Edwin Goldberg The Amidah for the High Holy Days features thematic additions for the Days of Awe.  One significant addition on Rosh Hashanah is “M’loch” – a prayer that celebrates the coronation of God as the Ultimate Ruler.  On Yom Kippur, a similarly sounding prayer is added in its place, “M’chol,” – a […]

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The Rosh HaShanah Amidah



by Dr. Richard Sarason The basic Rosh HaShanah Amidah is an elaboration of that for the Festivals. Both have seven benedictions, as on Shabbat—the first three and last three of the daily Amidah, with the Kedushat hayom (“Sanctity of the Day”) benediction in the middle.1 On both Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur, the Kedushat hayom […]

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What Will You Do Better This Year?



What will you do better this year? I’d like to do EVERYTHING better this year. Isn’t that what overachievers are supposed to say? But trying to do everything better seems like a recipe for hardly doing anything better. Woody Allen pushed this idea to the limit when he famously quipped “My only regret in life […]

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Shabbat Shuvah: From Whom Have You Strayed?



Shabbat Shuvah is the Sabbath between Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur. The name is derived from the opening word of the haftarah reading that urges us: Shuvah Yisrael ad Adonai Elohecha, “Return, O Israel, to the Eternal your God.” What does that mean to you? To whom or what might you be returning? Is it […]

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