Several times during the year, the Jewish calendar places joyous and challenging holidays near each other. What lessons we take from this juxtaposition?
I'm uncomfortable entering unfamiliar synagogues - solely because I am mixed race, and people assume that I am not Jewish.
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.)
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.
Ushering in the High Holiday season, Selichot – which falls this year on Saturday night, September 24th – is the warm-up stretch that precedes the spiritual workout we give our souls during the Days of Awe.
Compared with others over the centuries, I paid a piddling price to express my pride in being a Jew. But my small act of affirmation helped seal my career choice and allowed me to feel that I was one with Jake Pitler, Hank Greenberg, and Sandy Koufax.
Elul is famously a month of t'shuvah, returning and atonement, and these five films anticipate the penitential prayers.