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.)
Tekiah! Teruah! Shevarim! Tekiah Gedolah!
In the traditional liturgy, the special character of each holiday is particularly conveyed by the piyyutim (hymns, liturgical poems) that are recited or chanted on that day. Most of these piyyutim have been omitted in Reform liturgies since the nineteenth century, out of a sense that their Hebrew diction is too arcane and their theology too medieval. Yet, some of these poems have routinely been retained in Reform High Holy Day prayer books, particularly for Yom Kippur.
Recuperating from a broken ankle this summer, I had time to catch up on my binge streaming. One of my current favorites is the popular Netflix series Orange Is the New Black, which began streaming its seventh and final season on July 26.
These questions are intended to honor all of us by helping to identify and acknowledge our missteps so that we may, ultimately, do better going forward. Additionally, celebrating our successes empowers us to move closer to the diverse, equitable, and inclusive communities we seek to build.
Although my husband, Don, and I have lived in Jerusalem for six years, I can’t tell you much about the High Holidays in Israel because we’ve been spending them in Milan.