As the month of Elul wanes, we are preparing. We prepare for the new moon, we prepare for Rosh Hashanah, and we prepare for the zombie invasion. I have it on good authority, as do you, that the onslaught is imminent. The alarm blares every morning — a shofar blast and a warning… . . .
Ahavnu – We have loved, Bakhinu – we have cried, Gamalnu – we have given back, Dibarnu yofi – we have spoken great things! He’emanu – We have believed, v’Hish’tadalnu – and we tried to give our best effort, Zakharnu – we have remembered, Chibaknu – we have embraced, Ta’amnu Sefer – we have chanted Your book! . . .
“Tkhine of the Matriarchs for Yizkor on Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, and Yamim Tovim” by Rebbetsin Seril Rappaport is a faithful transcription of her tkhine included in “תחנה אמהות מן ראש חודש אלול” (Tkhine of the Matriarchs for the New Moon of Elul) published in Vilna, 1874, as re-published in The Merit of Our Mothers בזכות אמהות A Bilingual Anthology of Jewish Women’s Prayers, compiled by Rabbi Tracy Guren Klirs, Cincinnati: Hebrew Union College Press, 1992. shgiyot mi yavin, ministarot nakeni. . . .
This is a complete* Jewish Renewal/Reconstructionist Machzor for Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur, primarily influenced by the davennin of Reb Zalman and the Aquarian Minyan. All text in English is gender-neutral. All Hebrew prayers are accompanied by transliteration. Material for Shabbat is at the back of the book. Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur prayers . . .
An egalitarian adaptation of the seliḥa for Yom Kippur. . . .
David Wolkin writes, “I’ve been pushing this writing exercise for a while now, but I taught a class with it in my home on Sunday and it proved to be powerful and connecting for all of us in the room. If you’re reflecting/repenting this season, you might benefit from this.” . . .
Melissa Scholten-Gutierrez writes, “Rav Avi spoke to us a few times as he was working through [composing] this [vidui] and I am truly moved by it. Let us not only remember and confess our wrong doings, but also what we did right this year.” . . .
Vidui means acknowledgment. It is not about self-flagellation or blame, but about honesty, coming into contact with our lives, our patterns and experiences, and ultimately about teshuva and learning. In contacting the pain and suffering which our modes of being have given rise to, our regret can help us to willfully divest ourselves of them and awaken the yearning for those modes of being which are life-affirming, supportive of wholeness, connection, integrity, and flourishing. With each one we tap on our heart, touching the pain and closed-heartedness we have caused, and simultaneously knocking on the door that it may open again. . . .
Please God Let me light More than flame tonight. More than wax and wick and sliver stick of wood. More than shallow stream of words recited from a pocket book. . . .
In Uman, Ukraine (and in [the Breslov [community] in general) during the repetition of Rosh Hashanah Musaf, when when the ḥazan gets to the special brokha in the Amidah for Yamim Nora’im [the Days of Awe]: . . .
We have sinned By yielding to confusion and falling into passivity By indulging in fear By giving in to anger By not standing up for ourselves By thinking about Jewish values only on holy days By tolerating global warming, global disease and global poverty By being cynical about repairing the world By not defending Israel By not defending Palestine For all our sins, may the force that makes forgiveness possible, forgive us, pardon us and grant us atonement . . .
As we move not just toward a new “year” (shanah) but toward a moment when repetition (sheni) becomes transformation (shinui), I hope we will remember the roots of Jewish renewal in the upheavals of the 1960s as well as the upheavals of the 1760s, the roots of Judaism in the great “political” speeches of the Prophets, and the teachings of Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel, who said that in a great civil rights march his legs were praying, and who argued again and again that “spirituality” and “politics” cannot be severed. As Heschel also said, “Prayer is meaningless unless it is subversive.” . . .