I began my journey to Judaism nervously. Unlike the Charedim (ultra-Orthodox) who are anxious before the word of God, I was anxious in the uncertainty of the future.
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 year’s liturgy. (Note: Even though I may have to repent for it, I will leave you in suspense about my favorite liturgical moment and my greatest liturgical pet peeve. Also, “Special Edition Truth-or-Dare: High Holy Days” is fictional, although I hereby declare copyright in the event Mattel or Hasbro comes knocking at my door.)
The start of baseball season reminds me that as a young boy in Southern California in 1965, I thought only one thing when I heard the word “hero”: Sandy Koufax.
Literally, “master of t’kiah,” meaning “one who sounds the shofar.”
Literally, “between a person and God.” Refers to the religious or ritual mitzvot, or sacred obligations. The Mishnah teaches that the day of Yom Kippur atones for sins between a person and God.
Literally, “between a person and their fellow.” Refers to ethical, moral, or social mitzvot that govern relationships between and among people.
A Hebrew term for “sin.” Cheit is a Hebrew archery term meaning “missing the mark.” A section of High Holiday liturgy is the Al Cheit, a confession of ways in which we “missed the mark” during the past year.
Literally, “for a good year.” This is a customary greeting for Rosh HaShanah. Also, “shanah tovah.”
Literally, “blast” or “blowing of a horn;” it is a note of the shofar call.