Why is it customary to visit loved ones' graves before or during the High Holidays?
Jewish tradition gives structure to many aspects of mourning as a way to create order at a time when mourners may feel unmoored.
Why Avinu Malkeinu is So Important After the Year We've Had
Every summer, I go through the same routine.
Tipping the Scales: Returning to Germany for the Days of Awe
One of my most precious possessions is a copy of the Talmudic tractate Kiddushin printed in Munich in 1946 on presses once used for Nazi propaganda.
Holy Atheism! The Role of Faith in Judaism
As Yom Kippur, our only holiday which focuses on our relationship with God, fades behind us, I am reminded of a 2007 article I read in Newsweek.
Check out the RAC's High Holiday Guide on Criminal Justice
Each day in this country, we are faced with harrowing truths about how our criminal justice system operates.
When the Synagogue Doesn't Feel Like Home
I'm uncomfortable entering unfamiliar synagogues - solely because I am mixed race, and people assume that I am not Jewish.
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.)
It’s Never Too Late (or Too Early) for New Year Greetings
Fans of “Seinfeld” may recall an exchange between Jerry and Elaine in which they discuss the appropriate timeline for delivering new year greetings. “I once got Happy New Year'd in March … it’s pathetic,” griped Jerry.
The Jewish calendar has a natural marker for when it’s appropriate to start wishing friends and loved ones a happy New Year. The Jewish month that precedes the Jewish New Year is called Elul, and the first day of Elul, Rosh Chodesh Elul, is the official beginning of the High Holiday season.
Selichot: Warm-Up to the High Holiday Season
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.