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 “Days of Awe” is a good name for the High Holiday season because when we are in awe of something, that's a good thing, but I like “Awesome Days” so much better.
Given that Yom Kippur is the holiest day on the Jewish calendar, it makes sense that it can, and should, be joyful.
Although we learn to say “I’m sorry” as young children, as we age, these words take on more meaning, perhaps reflecting true regret about our behavior or its impact.
I heard Kol Nidrei on a violin tonight.
They should take all legal documents
and set them to music.
All vows –
This legal document
written in unholy language
a prenuptial agreement
for our inevitable failing.
This relationship with
From those who always fast to those who have considered not doing so – or who have taken a year or two off for health reasons – here are a few personal perspectives about fasting on the holiest day of the Jewish year.
Rabbi Rick Jacobs, president of the Union for Reform Judaism, presented this sermon on Rosh HaShanah morning, saying, "We need to face something so odious that we will try to avert our eyes. But we must not."