Posts Tagged: worship
2013 URJ Biennial

A Prayerful Biennial: Models to Bring Home to Your Own Congregation



Worship opportunities will abound at the URJ Biennial this December! Designed not only to refresh the body and the spirit, the services also are models you may wish to bring home to your congregation or incorporate into your own personal practice. In addition to inspiring and innovative daily worship experiences, Biennial will include a brand […]

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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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The Year That Was: One Congregation’s Prayer Services without a Rabbi



My synagogue, Kehillat Emet VeShalom in Nahariya, Israel, just completed a year of prayer services on our own without a rabbi. We recently met to reflect on the year and to voice our thoughts and opinions. First, to set the mood and remind us of some of the special moments that we shared during the […]

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Sometimes Inclusion Makes Me Nervous



On Yom Kippur morning, an amazing young woman came to our bimah to chant Torah.  She happens to be blind. And while I eagerly anticipated what I knew would be a stunning aliyah, I found myself really nervous. Why would I be nervous?  This should have been a moment of immense pride that the inclusive […]

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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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Knowing When it’s Time: A Response to Rabbi Rosalind Gold



La-kol z’man; v’eit l’khol khefetz takhat ha-shamayim…eit s’fod v’eit r’kod… (To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under heaven…a time to mourn and a time to dance…) These words from Ecclesiastes 3, so familiar and widely affirmed to us in liturgy and in song, are nonetheless ignored in the common […]

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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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