Category Archives: Preparing for the High Holidays

Out of Necessity: A Midrash

Caryn Aviv
August 29, 2014

My hardest question every year is how to confront the difficulties of re-reading the Akedah. The story upsets and horrifies us, but what bothers me most are the silences. Every year, I am particularly bothered by the narrative’s utter silence about Abraham’s inner emotional experience and the absence of Sarah’s voice in this pivotal Genesis More »


Awesome Wonders

Rabbi Joshua Bolton
August 28, 2014

This Rosh Hashanah I am wondering about forgiveness – always easier to talk about in email sermons than it is to practice with close friends and myself. And about the giant stone and the King commanding me, “Lift it upon the roof.” And about that hummus shop in Rehavia, Between Azza and Berlin. And wondering More »


Raya Mehemna

Rabbi Alon C Ferency
August 27, 2014

During the U’netaneh Tokef, the signal prayer of the holidays, we are enjoined to think of God k’vakarat ro’eh ‘edro, as a Shepherd reviewing God’s flock.  To place this phrase in context, it was common practice for the shepherd to account for her flock (and there is evidence that this was a profession of both More »



Rachel Petroff Kessler
August 20, 2014

  There came a time when God put Abraham to the test. “Abraham!” God said to him, and Abraham answered, “Here I am.” – Genesis 22:1 As I approach Rosh Hashanah this year, I am wondering about what it means to say, “Hineini, here I am.” What does it mean to be present, to recognize More »


What does Avinu Malkeinu Really Mean?

Aryeh BenDavid
August 13, 2014

As I approach Rosh Hashanah this year, I am wondering about one line in Avinu Malkeinu: “Our Father, Our King, hear our voice, have great mercy upon us.” Our Father. My father passed away suddenly last Erev Rosh HaShana. It is now one year without my father. A year of emptiness and mourning. Our King. More »


The Apocalypse of Unetaneh Tokef

Richard Lederman
August 7, 2014

Much of what is written and said about the unetaneh tokef prayer revolves around the discomfort felt by many contemporary, presumably enlightened Jews. The notion of a divine royal judge sitting on a throne, reading from a book and deciding who should live and who should die through the unspeakable tortures that this text expresses More »


Sweetness On a Bitter Tongue

Yoni A. Dahlen
August 1, 2014

As I approach Rosh Hashanah this year, I am wondering about the sweetness of new beginnings in a time of bitterness. Throughout the world, Jews of every color and tradition will be celebrating the new year by replacing the symbolic salt on their challah with honey. It is tradition to greet one another with the More »