I grew up going to services. A lot of services. I was adept at counting the ceiling tiles, reaching into the thousands as my grasp of numbers grew more sophisticated. The melodies became part of my life soundtrack; I hummed them as my mind wandered during the rabbi’s sermon.
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Jewish tradition recognizes that fasting is not a safe practice for all Jews. For this reason, children under the age of 13 and individuals who are pregnant or ill are not required to fast in Yom Kippur. For those who fall into this category, the Jewish Board of Family and Children's Services provides a special meditation to recite instead, written by Rabbi Simkha Y. Weintraub.
He will take us back in love; He will cover up our iniquities, You will hurl all our sins into the depths of the sea. -Micah 7:19
Both films show us ways to examine our flaws and make amends, either with the people we’ve wronged or for the ways we’ve scorned the sacrifices of those who came before us.
We recently introduced the URJ Reflection Project, a tool for the High Holidays that can be found at reflect.reformjudaism.org. Here, we share suggestions of how to use its many ideas with your congregation.
The Unetaneh Tokef has a long list of ways that people die, often violently, a way of shocking us into realizing our mortality. The original prayer, however, can be traumatizing. This version seeks a more empathetic approach to mortality.
As we no longer serve God through temple sacrifices, many Jews have come to understand the entire world, in essence, to be God’s temple. This year, I believe we have vandalized God’s temple with the blood of the innocent.