More Than Words on a Page: Social Justice in our Prayer Books
When I left for college my freshman year, I was nervous about exploring a new Jewish community. However, I immediately felt at home as I walked into my university’s Hillel’s Conservative Friday night services and saw the Siddur Sim Shalom, the prayer book I had grown up with.
Kol Nidre: All Vows and One Haunting Melody
Perhaps the most familiar melody we hear each High Holiday season is Kol Nidre – the introductory prayer recited before sundown on the eve of Yom Kippur.
When Yom Kippur Coincides with National Coming Out Day
As we begin the year 5777, let us commit to putting greater inclusion, equality, and acceptance of all God’s children front and center.
The Music of Avinu Malkeinu
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.)
Torah Cantillation for the High Holy Days
There are many elements which make the High Holy Days a unique experience. Often, congregations swell to double or triple their usual size, the musical settings of even common liturgy are different, and some might alter their dress by wearing either traditionally all-white garments or more formal wear than they would sport on Shabbat. Some congregations even have unique garments to dress their Torah scrolls in white.
Social Media is No Place for the Real Work of Repentance
I have a hard time believing that, however good the intentions may be, typing "Please forgive me if I hurt you" into our browsers can create change.
Go Ahead, Post Your Yom Kippur Apologies on Facebook
If posting an apology online serves as a starting point for follow-up conversations, I say go for it. How could that ever be a bad thing?
For the Sin of Abandoning My People
I vowed that if Israel survived, I would never again abandon my people, never again be indifferent to Israel’s fate.
My Alphabet of Failings: A New Ashamnu
Each year on Yom Kippur, I join my congregation is reciting the Ashamnu, an alphabetic acrostic of sins for which we repent. And each year, it occurs to me that most of the sins named in the Ashamnu don’t hit me in the heart I’m beating – and so, I wrote my own version of the prayer.
How the High Holidays Are Like a Charles Dickens Tale
Whether you prefer the 1843 book or any of the many movie versions made since, there is no question that Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol is a classic.
Now, despite the season for which Dickens wrote it, A Christmas Carol is a Yom Kippur story if there ever was one.