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Jenifer Newmark

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Adult holding small child joyfully overhead with sunset in the background

On Rosh HaShanah it is written; on Yom Kippur it is sealed. But there’s an awful lot that happens in the middle.

The Un’taneh Tokef is a prayer we say during the High Holidays. The first time I encountered it before my conversion, it took me aback. It’s an unexpected darkness in the midst of the apples-and-honey flavored joy of the holidays. While at first I questioned its placement in the liturgy, now I look forward to saying it. And no, I no longer consider it morbid.

“How many shall pass away and how many shall be born; who shall live and who shall die? Who shall be poor...

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