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☞   Yom Kippur

Al Ḥeyt, a paraliturgical translation by Shelby Handler & Maia Brown

This prayer is not a comprehensive list of every single sin we sinned, every error we erred, every mark we missed. The original Al Ḥeyt is intended to show us the roots of all failures, to dig beneath how we harm, to see where that hurt came from. We follow these trails together, not absolved from our own repairs, but never alone in struggles to uproot, to propagate new ways of being ourselves, new ways of being ourselves, of being together. . . .

הַיּוֹם תְּאַמְּצֵנוּ | haYom T’amtseinu, a piyyut for the end of musaf on Rosh haShanah and Yom Kippur

The full text of the alphabetic mesostic piyyut, Hayom, according to the Italian nusaḥ. . . .

כִּי־בַיּוֹם הַזֶּה | Ki vaYom haZeh, a Karaite song for Yom Kippur

A Karaite song for the Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur). . . .

אֲדוֹן הַסְּלִיחוֹת | Lord of Forgiveness

A pizmon in the nusaḥ hasepharadim recited at Seliḥot during the monh of Elul and Yom Kippur. . . .

תחנה פאר די ליכט מאכין אום ערב יום כפור | Tkhine for Candlemaking on Erev Yom Kippur, by Sarah bat Tovim (ca. early 18th c.)

This is the tkhine for candlemaking on erev Yom Kippur as found in Sarah bat Tovim’s Tkhine of Three Gates, likely written by her sometime in the early 18th century. . . .

A Mini-Seliḥot, by Rabbi Menachem Creditor

One small request to accompany the seliḥot service. . . .

הַוִּדּוּי הַמַּשְׁלִים | HaVidui haMashlim (Complementary Confession), by Rabbi Binyamin Holtzman

A complementary (positive vidui) to supplement the harsh communal and personal vidu’im (confessions) being offered during the Zman Teshuvah. . . .

ברכת המזון לסעודה מפסקת לפני יום הכפורים | Birkat haMazon for the Pre-Fast Meal for Yom Kippur, by Isaac Gantwerk Mayer

This acrostic poetic form of Birkat haMazon was written for the se’udah mafseqet (pre-fast meal) before Yom Kippur, in the manner of the poetic Birkat haMazon variants recorded in the Cairo Geniza. . . .

Prayer for the Evening of the Day of Atonement (נעילה), by Rabbi Moritz Mayer (1866)

A prayer for a woman pleading for atonement in the final service of Yom Kippur at sunset. . . .

[Prayer] for the Day of Atonement, by Rabbi Moritz Mayer (1866)

A prayer for a woman pleading for atonement on Yom Kippurim. . . .

ודוי חיובית | Positive Vidui, by Rabbi Avi Weiss

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.” . . .

Prayer for the Departed (הזכרת נשמות), by Rabbi Moritz Mayer (1866)

A prayer for one’s parent or parents on Yom Kippur during Yizkor. . . .

עשרת ימי תשובה | My Ten Days of Repentance Writing Exercise, by David Wolkin

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.” . . .

ודוי | Vidui meditation, by Danny Cohen

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. . . .

מזמור לבן סירא על זכות אבותינו (פרקים מד-נ)‏ | Paean of Ben Sira on the Merit of the Ancestors (ch. 44-50), vocalized and cantillated with the Poetic Masoretic System by Isaac Gantwerk Mayer

The poem lauding the ancestors from Chapters 44 to 50 of Ben Sira (Ecclesiasticus) is considered by many scholars to be the original influence for the Yom Kippur Avodah service, and the paean to Shimon the Righteous bears a striking similarity to the beloved piyyut “Mar’eh Khohen.” This passage from Ben Sira, the great paean on the merit of the ancestors, takes the Hebrew text of one of the Cairo Geniza manuscripts — Bodleian MS Heb e62 — and versifies it according to the standard Septuagintal text, along with vocalization and cantillation per the standard Masoretic EMe”T system for poetic books. It could be read on Yom Kippur for the avodah service, or just studied as a fascinating piece of Jewish history. . . .

Am Tage vor dem neuen Jahre oder dem Versöhnungsfeste, wenn man die Gräber besucht | [Prayer] for when you visit the graves on Erev Rosh haShanah or Yom Kippur before the Seudah Mafseket, by Fanny Neuda (1855)

A prayer offered on erev Rosh haShanah or Yom Kippur to visit the local Jewish cemetery. . . .

A Prayer for Yom Kippur, by Andy Izenson

A prayer for teshuvah. . . .

וִדּוּי | Vidui (confession), translated by Naomi Socher-Lerner

The Yom Kippur vidui — confession — translated by Naomi Socher-Lerner. . . .

קדוש לסעודה מפסקת לפני יום הכפורים | Ḳiddush for the Seudah Mafseket before Yom Kippur, by Isaac Gantwerk Mayer

A kiddush for the se’udah (feast) preceding Yom Kippur and its fast. . . .

Betrachtung am Neujahrsund Versöhnungstage | Meditation on Rosh haShanah and Yom Kippur, by Fanny Neuda (1855)

A meditation on Rosh haShanah and Yom Kippurim. . . .

Between the Fires: A Kavvanah for Lighting Candles of Commitment, by Rabbi Arthur Waskow (the Shalom Center)

“Between the Fires: A Prayer for lighting Candles of Commitment” was composed by Rabbi Arthur Waskow, drawing on traditional midrash about the danger of a Flood of Fire, and the passage from Malachi. . . .

A Prayer before Candle-lighting, by Chaya Kaplan-Lester

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. . . .

מי שענה… הוא יעננו | Mi She’anah… Hu Ya’anenu – A Seliḥah for Yom Kippur (egal adaptation by Lisa Exler and R’ Julia Andelman, 2004)

An egalitarian adaptation of the seliḥa for Yom Kippur. . . .

A Story of the World (for the Avodah Service on Yom Kippur) by R’ Yonah Lavery-Yisraeli

This Yom Kipur, our congregation (Beth Jacob Synagogue in Hamilton) requested a reworking of the piyyut, “Amits Koaḥ” (text, audio) since the language is very tough and resists plain translation into English. I was also commissioned to write a poem describing the history of the world from a Jewish perspective, from scratch and in English, for use at the beginning of the Avodah service. It turned out to be just as obscure as the original so I put in a little column to the right with a little reference what I was talking about. . . .

תפלה לשליח ציבור | Hineni: The Prayer of the Shaliaḥ Tsibur, interpretive translation by Rabbi Oren Steinitz

Hineni – the leader’s prayer that opens the High Holy Days Mussaf has always been a challenge for me. While a dramatic moment in the service, it always seemed a little *too* grand to represent a prayer of humility. This is a version of it I wrote in an attempt to make myself more comfortable at that moment. –Rabbi Oren Steinitz . . .

א דוּדעלע (איה אמצאך)‏ | A Dudele (Where shall I seek you?), by Rabbi Levi Yitsḥaq of Berditchev (ca. 18th c.)

A profound song invoking divine presence. . . .

מִי שֶׁעָנָה…הוּא יַעֲנֵנוּ | Mi she’Anah…Hu Ya’anenu :: A Star Trek Seliḥah, by Isaac Gantwerk Mayer

A derivation of the popular piyyut for the Yamim Noraim, “Mi She’anu” which references the archetypal characters of the Star Trek paracosm. . . .

עַל חֵטְא | Interpretive Al Ḥeyt for Yom Kippur, by Rabbi Emily Aviva Kapor-Mater

The Al Cheyt (literally meaning “For the sin…”) is a confessional litany recited on Yom Kippur. It is an alphabetical acrostic; each one of its verses starting with a successive letter of the aleph-beit, to represent not only the moral failings that are specifically enumerated there, but the fullness of every way in which we missed the mark in the previous year. . . .

וידוי הגדול | Vidui HaGadol: The Great Confession, an Al Ḥeyt litany by Michal Talya

This vidui (confession), based on the traditional pattern of Yom Kipur confession, was written around 2011by Michal Talya and is used by several liberal communities in Israel. . . .

סליחה לימים הנוראים | Seliḥah for the Days of Awe, by Rabbi Ben-Tsiyon Meir Ḥai Uziel

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Haftarah Reading for Yom Kippur morning (Isaiah 57:14-58:14), a slightly midrashic translation by Arthur O. Waskow

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.” . . .

תחנה אמהות | Prayer for Yizkor on Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, and Yamim Tovim, from the Tkhine of the Matriarchs by Seril Rappaport (ca. 18th century)

“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. . . .

סליחה מר׳ יצחק אבן גיאת | Seliḥah by Yitsḥaq ben Yehudah Ibn Ghayyat (ca. 11th century) translated by Reb Zalman Schachter-Shalomi z”l

The following love poem is one of the Selihot recited between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. Ibn Gayat (1038 – 1089) was not timid about using the most intimate symbols in asking God to become reconciled with us. . . .

על חטא | Al Ḥeit, by Stew Albert & Judy Gumbo (2006)

Judy Gumbo co-authored this Al Ḥeit with her partner Stew Albert, ז״ל, before his passing in 2006. This Al Ḥeit was most recently used as part of Yom Kippur Kol Nidre services across the country in solidarity with Occupy Wall Street 5772. . . .

Additions to Piyyutim on the High Holidays for the Shemitah Year, by Rabbi David Seidenberg (neohasid.org)

Two suggestions for ḥazanim (cantors) and shliḥei tzibur on the High Holidays. . . .


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