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Machzor Blog: Thoughts on Torah Readings

Our congregation, Westchester Reform Temple in Scarsdale, New York, has been worshipping with a draft copy of Mishkan HaNefesh for three years now, on the second day of Rosh Ha-Shanah.  About four hundred congregants and members of the community-at-large show up for this service, and we have taken the opportunity not only to pilot the new machzor from the pulpit, but also to invite the participants’ feedback.  In general, opinion about the machzor is positive, with many praising the dignified, uplifting, and poetic English prayer-renderings and meditations, and others appreciating the opportunities for study and reflection built into the machzor.

Because the draft copy we have been piloting does not feature a Torah service, we have jumped back into Gates of Repentance for the Torah Service and we have produced our own one-page handout for the Shofar Service.  The Torah service, however, prompts a fascinating question about which our congregation and clergy have been wondering aloud for a couple of years:  what Torah readings will Mishkan HaNefesh propose for reading on First and Second Day Rosh HaShanah?

This spring I taught an eight-week adult education course in midrash using Akedat Yitzhak (The Binding of Isaac, Genesis 22) as our primary text.  While many of the students feel spiritually and emotionally drawn to the Binding of Isaac and recognize its importance within Judaism–an importance that led to our Reform Movement proposing it as the reading for First Day Rosh HaShanah, instead of on Day Two, where it is found in Orthodox and Conservative circles–many agreed that the time has come to re-locate Akedat Yitzhak on Day Two, and replace the Torah reading for First Day Rosh Ha-Shanah with the traditional Scriptural passage, Genesis 21, which not only sets up the drama for day two (Genesis 21 details the birth of Isaac and his place in Jewish genealogy), but also beautifully meshes with Rosh Ha-Shanah themes of birth and hopefulness.

I would warmly support the re-introduction of this text.  It would embrace the value of Klal Yisrael, the unity of the Jewish People, by bringing us into common practice with other streams of Judaism.  It would also invite the rabbi to explore new and varied preaching topics on Rosh HaShanah morning, and offer new discussion topics for congregants.

Knowing our Reform Movement, and the format of Mishkan T’filah, I suspect that choices will be offered, including the choice of reverting to Genesis 21.  Readers, what do you think?

Rabbi Jonathan Blake serves Westchester Reform Temple in Scarsdale, NY.

 Learn more about the new CCAR Machzor.  For more information about participating in piloting, email machzor@ccarnet.org.

 

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Machzor Blog: Unetaneh Tokef

IMG_3635I was asked to serve on the core editorial for the new Reform Machzor in November of 2009.  Our first actual meeting was in January, 2010.  I was flying early Monday morning from Miami to NYC.  Because of terribly high winds in New York the plane could not land and we finally arrived in D.C. instead.  At first I was miffed that I had not been able to make the first meeting on time.  Then I understood that the very essence of the Days of Awe was reflected in my experience.  As Unetaneh Tokef reminds us, “you just never know”.    Fortunately the matter involved a plane landing elsewhere, as opposed to a plane not landing at all!

Unetaneh Tokef is one of those aspects of the machzor that are frustrating.  On the one hand, scholarship proves that the declaration was composed somewhat like a jazz variation, a “one-off” used to introduce the Kedushah at a particular service.  Somehow it became Keva instead of Kavanah.  And then of course there is the troublesome theology.  It is very tempting to avoid Unetaneh Tokef in the machzor, but then how can we say it is reflective of the High Holy Days?

I believe a better approach is to include it – along with some alternative readings that stress a less Deuteronomic view of God – because the theological “elephant” in the room should not be ignored.  We humans have a tendency to combat uncertainty by offering difficult theology.  All the wishing away of such a human response will not rewire our make up.  I know that the words of Unetaneh Tokef can be hurtful.  But then again, so is life.

One of the most powerful things we have done in my synagogue for the last couple of years, thanks to drop down screens, is to present Leonard Cohen’s Who By Fire.  The screens mean that the actual words are right there for everyone to see and sing.  Not only does Cohen’s version attract a certain subset of hipper congregants; the power of his words capture the emotional intensity of our uncertain future in a way that transcends the ancient words.

And who by fire, who by water,

Who in the sunshine, who in the night time,

Who by high ordeal, who by common trial,

Who in your merry merry month of may,

Who by very slow decay,

And who shall I say is calling?

 

And who in her lonely slip, who by barbiturate,

Who in these realms of love, who by something blunt,

And who by avalanche, who by powder,

Who for his greed, who for his hunger,

And who shall I say is calling?

 

And who by brave assent, who by accident,

Who in solitude, who in this mirror,

Who by his lady’s command, who by his own hand,

Who in mortal chains, who in power,

And who shall I say is calling?

 

Were I to write a High Holy Day prayer book reflective of only my personal theology, I would leave out Unetaneh Tokef.  Nevertheless, I am glad that we are including the traditional version in our new machzor, Mishkan HaNefesh, and I would hope that it, along with other resources, will be the beginning of the conversation, and not the end.

After all, at its heart the High Holy Days are about questions as well as answers.

And who shall we say is calling?

Rabbi Edwin Goldberg is a member of the Machzor Editorial Team.  He is the senior rabbi of Temple Judea in Coral Gables, FL, and will become the senior rabbi of Temple Sholom in Chicago, IL, this summer.  

Learn more about the new CCAR Machzor.  For more information about participating in piloting, email machzor@ccarnet.org.

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Machzor Blog: A Personal Vision

photo-36For the last three years I have been privileged to serve on the core editorial team of the new Reform machzor, to be called Mishkan HaNefesh.  From the beginning of the process of creating a new machzor, the first one from scratch by the CCAR since 1894, I sat down and created a personal vision statement for the machzor.

Here is what I wrote:

 PERSONAL MACHZOR VISION STATEMENT

EDWIN COLE GOLDBERG

 There is an old joke that says baseball is a Jewish sport because, in the end, the point of the game is to head home.  There is something Jewish about returning home, remembering who we are and seeing the world not so much in a new way but rather with lenses that take in the new while restoring the old perspective.  For most (post) modern American Jews I think this metaphor works well: once a year we return to a familiar place for a rehearsed routine.  Most congregants, I would imagine, are content with efficient services and a sermon that tries to move them.  Wonderful music is a huge part of the equation, and these days an eclectic mix of stirring and participatory is usually best.  The architecture of the building, too, plays a role in the effectiveness of the worship.  Like baseball, the rules stay the same, the old rites comforting.  But no one minds a little well-paced drama.

And then there is the machzor.  For me, a good machzor is somewhat like a business suit on a man: if it calls too much attention to itself, it is not a good thing.  The machzor should facilitate effective (and affective) worship; it should not be the star.  As we create a new machzor, we should remember that what we create is one component in a large array of factors that contribute to a meaningful worship experience.

The unique challenge of a machzor, as opposed to a siddur, is the theological “elephant” in the sanctuary that cannot be sent to the side.  That old “Deuteronomic” view of God as the great Judge and King cannot be taken out of the machzor without the risk of turning the Days of Awe into merely Days.

And yet, I believe our machzor should focus primarily on the human experience of cheshbon nefesh.  Through accessible poetry and well-written translations, our focus should be on the possibility of change and the potential for human growth.  Our prayers and poems should reflect the reality that people are facing, living in a world of moral temptation, dizzying choice and 24/7 bombardment. 

I imagine, then, a machzor that speaks to amcha, not ignoring the role of God in our lives, but focusing primarily on our journey homeward, enabling us to rediscover the values we hold dear, the promises we made when younger, and the challenges before us that, if met, will lead us to lives of holiness.

Reading this statement over three years later, I am pleased that so much of our efforts have reflected the difficult challenge of inviting God into our lives at this critical time of year while at the same time not losing our own sense of personal responsibility for the choices we make.

There are going to be many theological views of God presented in the machzor, just as there will be diverse perspectives on our humanity.  Ultimately, I hope that our machzor will privilege the unique relationship between ourselves and God in bringing more holiness into our lives.

Even the title, Mishkan HaNefesh, evokes the work upon us, the Cheshbon HaNefesh, that will determine whether or not our Days of Awe live up to their pontential.

Rabbi Edwin Goldberg is a member of the Machzor Editorial Team.  He is the senior rabbi of Temple Judea in Coral Gables, FL, and will become the senior rabbi of Temple Sholom in Chicago, IL, this summer.  

Learn more about the new CCAR Machzor.  For more information about participating in piloting, email machzor@ccarnet.org.

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Machzor Blog: Controversy For the Sake of Heaven

IMG_3949What do you we think people should want to hear rabbis speak about on Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur?  Do they want to be comforted and soothed – reminded of the power of hope, the possibility of happiness or finding the means to peace? Or do they wish to be aroused and challenged by the brokenness in the world, the myriad needs of the Jewish community and the wrongdoing in their lives?

 The insight of one of my teachers in rabbinic school was that a rabbi’s job is to “comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable.”  Most people I’ve met are fine with the first half of the dictum, but every year I hear from people who don’t want to come to services to be disturbed.  It reminds me of a joke about a new rabbi who sought advice from the synagogue Board about what she should talk about for her first High Holy Days.

 The president said, “Talk about something to do with being Jewish.”

“Great,” the rabbi replied, “I’ll talk about Shabbat.”

“Maybe not,” one Board member offered, “A lot of our members don’t observe Shabbat. They might take offense.”

“How about talking about Israel?” the rabbi offered.

 “What?!”, said several on the Board, “Do you want to create controversy the first time you speak? We have people here with such different ideas about Israel.”

“All right, I’ll talk about why people should study Torah more for themselves, not just send their children to Religious school,” said the rabbi.

“I don’t know,” some trustees said, “Why make people feel bad about what they don’t do.”

“In that case, what should I talk about?”

“Rabbi, just talk about being Jewish.”

IMG_4029Each person has different yearnings and needs for what they seek during the Days of Awe. Every one of us seeks both comfort and challenge, to be put at ease and goaded to action.  It is likely that at some point on Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur you will hear a prayer, music or teaching you do not like, troubles you or challenges what you believe.  Instead of lashing out against those who offer a different point of view, use the strong feelings you have as a motivation for further reflection, conversation and respectful debate.

You do not need a rabbi or prayer to provoke you. Indeed, this is a time when our souls should be stirred. The weeks before and during the Days of Awe are a time for deep, inner, spiritual reflection. Honest self-appraisal (חשבון הנפש) cannot help but confront us with challenging questions. Have I been honest about my faults? Have done all I could for others?  Am I the man or woman I want to be? Is the person others see truly the person I am? What do I hide from others – and why?  Indeed, if you come to the synagogue expecting to be moved, but take no time before or during services for true self-reflection, the point of these days will be lost.  The goal is not to feel that we are bad. Rather, the purpose of these days is to become the best we can be and to seek a world that ought to be.

The Days of Awe, then, are inherently meant to trouble and disturb, to uproot and challenge. This is not, however, controversy for its own sake, but for the sake of Heaven. Such debate, our sages teach, will endure (Pirkei Avot 5:17).  May it be a time of good and blessing, but also one that forces us all to face the hard truths and unmet needs of our lives, our families, our people and the world. 

Rabbi Irwin A. Zeplowitz serves the Community Synagogue in Port Washington, NY.

Learn more about the new CCAR Machzor.  For more information about participating in piloting, email machzor@ccarnet.org.

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Machzor Blog: The Holy Days? Yup, It’s Time…

CloudsOur congregants usually know a good bit about the link between a Pesach Seder and freedom, that to be in a sukkah is to celebrate the beauty and fragility of our lives in nature, and that we honor bravery and frivolity on Purim, dedication and faith on Chanukah.  When asked about the High Holy Days, most know to focus on what it means to begin again with a New Year, to pray for the future of our world and community, and to do soul searching work in our strivings to try again to hit the mark.

Why is it that on these Holy Days our synagogues are full to overflowing – do they come just to observe the New Year and repent in public?  It is true; they gain strength in connection to one another and find comfort in doing the sacred work with others. I know that many of us lead great worship – but that can’t be the reason so many show up.  The cynic in me could say it’s because they’re “supposed to.”  But I have to believe that some are coming because they are searching for God. 

What kind of God, I don’t know – and perhaps they don’t know either.  But if they might not always articulate it, during the Holy Days our people are looking for a deeper understanding of God.  Our liturgy is certainly focused precisely on God – more so than the other holidays we celebrate; prayer after prayer, kavanah after kavanah, vidui after vidui.  Many of my congregants will tell me that they don’t believe, or that they believe in something more general and of the “spirit” — still they come and sit through hours of recitation, song, and sermon – all of which are focused on God.

What does this mean for us cantors and rabbis?  We often get so caught up in the choreography and the theatre, the seamless cues and flawless singing, the profound yet intimate sermons and reflective iyunim – that we forget that our congregants need tools to find their way to the Divine.  Do we as clergy focus enough on the challenges and opportunities we all have with the God of this liturgy?  Do we give our congregants the tools to dig deep into the realm of belief and faith?

They come to us with questions, even if not openly articulated: If God created this world, on this New Year, why is it so broken?  If God asked Abraham to sacrifice his beloved one, is the pain that I experience in life to be considered a sacrifice as well?  How can I be written into the Book of Life if I do not “believe” in the way I think I’m supposed to believe?  

We, as clergy, always find the timing of the Holy Days difficult (but they’re always right on time) – perhaps our frustration is also with the fact that we don’t have ample time to teach about these Days, to dig deep, to study the rituals and texts, to examine Un’taneh Tokef and B’rosh haShanah yikateivun – how can we live with such a powerful God, and still hear the kol d’ma’ma daka

IMG_2568The High Holy Days get lost in the shuffle of summer’s transition into fall.  We should use them as an opportunity to directly engage in a conversation about God, and the new machzor may be the tool with which we can initiate these conversations with our congregations: Conversations about belief, faith, and the different pathways to, and expressions of God in our lives. 

A few years ago Rabbi Rachel Cowan spoke to the Commission for Worship, Music and Religious Living, and reflected on the fact that many congregants don’t feel comfortable talking about God – they assume we, their clergy, have the God thing all figured out and therefore are embarrassed that they don’t and don’t know how to ask us.  Maybe now is the time to begin these conversations using the unique texts of our Machzor as our guide and facilitator.  Let’s begin again.

Cantor Rosalie Boxt is the cantor of DC-area Temple Emanuel in Kensington, Maryland, is the Director of Worship for the 2013 URJ Biennial, serves as a member of the URJ Adjunct Faculty and is on the faculty of Hava Nashira.  She is a past vice-president of the ACC, and serves on the Executive Committee of the URJ Kutz Camp.

Learn more about the new CCAR Machzor.  For more information about participating in piloting, email machzor@ccarnet.org.

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Books General CCAR Prayer Reform Judaism

Machzor Blog: “I’m Not A Sheep”

IMG_0361“Please Dad, tell them I’m not a sheep.” Those were my teenage daughter’s parting words to me as I attended the first “Think Tank” in 2008 for creating a new machzor for our movement. All invited to that meeting were asked to reflect upon what we wanted to see in our new High Holy Day liturgy and convene congregants in advance to glean ideas as to what was meaningful and problematic in their worship experience.

What a challenge it is for the machzor editors to be responsive to numerous perspectives, while being faithful to Jewish tradition and creative in the spirit of Reform Judaism! Based upon the pilot editions, I believe they are definitely on the right track. Our congregation experienced both, the Rosh HaShanah morning service during a mock Yuntif service in April, serving apples and honey for flavor and we incorporated the Yom Kippur afternoon service into our actual worship this past fall. Many of the suggestions from that original Think Tank are incorporated into the draft editions. Let me be more specific.

Our congregation enjoys Mishkan T’filah. Having the traditional prayer, transliterations, creative alternatives and commentaries to enhance our High Holy Day GalaApplesHoney2
worship experience was desired. One of my members offered that just as a child likes to hear the same story read repeatedly, as a comforting part of bedtime ritual, he/she also likes different books. So too, our machzor needs to offer customary spiritually nurturing opportunities, whether through spoken word, Torah text or musical expression. Faithful translations that attempt to be literally and poetically correct invite access to tradition, along with creative alternatives, which add perspective. There is still a challenge to be careful lest a “contemporary” prayer be appropriate for 2013, but irrelevant 20-30 years from now. I am recalling the “coal miner’s prayer” from the UPB and Vietnam War era references in Gates of Repentance.

All will agree that Avinu Malkeinu is one of the central prayers of the High Holy Day experience. The cadence of reading and the melody that Moshe Rabbeinu whispered to Max Janowski are expected by our worshippers. Offering paths to the familiar, along with creative expressions is critical and our editors have done that.

But altering the Shofar service by scattering its three sections strategically throughout the service? What’s that all about? Going into the process, my members looked forward to creative, perhaps even radical thinking in the spirit and tradition of Reform Judaism to be part of the process. Much to my surprise, when we piloted Rosh Hashanah and experienced the new format, it met with almost universal positive reaction. Should this change become permanent, the first year will be a shock. The second year will be a bit disconcerting and by the third it will be Reform tradition.

Annually as the Holy Days approach, colleagues on line ask about Yom Kippur afternoon alternatives to Gates of Repentance. So I was delighted to pilot the service in that time slot this past year. Though we did not read Torah, a simultaneous study group, led by Rabbi Barbara Metzinger resonated to the teachings in Leviticus 18, which suggests that our people are open to Torah text diversity. One desire expressed by my members from 2008 was to focus on Jewish values. Having the middot allowed us to learn and grow, as well as creating the feel of what is typical during Shabbat. The two worship experiences should be different, but not completely.

 Our group wanted the editors to deal with the word “sin.” I know they are still struggling with how to best translate chet. So far they are not wrong, but may have missed the mark.

Finally, there are many theological issues to creating a liturgy that leaves room for the spectrum from customary beliefs to extreme doubt, as reflected by my microcosm of the movement. Some reject the words of Unetaneh Tokef and no matter how much you provide in teaching or metaphorical form, it does not fly. Still, others embrace it. Alternative theological opportunities abound in the early editions. But, alas my dear daughter, “We are Your flock; You are our shepherd.” is still to be found, but maybe, if you ask nicely, the rabbi may elect to read the Nelly Sachs poem on the other side of the page.


Bob Loewy is rabbi at Congregation Gates of Prayer in Metairie, LA since 1984, currently serves as Program Vice President for the CCAR and grew up in the Reform movement.

Learn more about the new CCAR Machzor.  For more information about participating in piloting, email machzor@ccarnet.org.

 

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Machzor Blog: The Rhythm of the Page

The rhythm for the conversation was clear to me from the start.  As we began to pilot the new CCAR machzor, my congregation’s diverse volunteer group would discuss specific passages and the general tone. Topics would include the positioning of the Hebrew on the page and the very numbering of the pages.  I could predict the conversation’s rhythm, but not that our attention would be drawn to the very rhythm of certain pages.

The setting of the Al Cheit prayer was among those very pages.  Considering the list of sins in this prayer, we knew we would discuss content, but we also found ourselves pondering layout.  My congregants have been impressed equally by the machzor editors’ openness to considering items as diverse as the translation of Al Cheit Shechatanu and of the very rhythm of that prayer’s page.

Currently, most Reform synagogues use Gates of Repentance, first published in 1979 and updated in 1986.  I have had the honor of worshipping in over a dozen synagogues over the years, as a child, student, rabbi, and even just an adult worshipper.  The style of these synagogues has differed greatly in the music, the balance of Hebrew and English, and the general level of formality.  However, all of these Yom Kippur services have followed the basic rhythm for reciting Al Cheit, and some other prayers.  We have alternated the two languages

HEBREW

ENGLISH

HEBREW

ENGLISH

continually down the page.  We have followed what I would call the “rhythm of the page,” whether we have read, sung, or alternated our way through Al Cheit. Sure, other prayerbooks, including the Reform Judaism’s earlier Union Prayer Book, don’t have this alternating rhythm.  Sure, there are Reform synagogues that don’t move back and forth between the two languages.  However, clearly what I have experienced is not uncommon.  Reform congregations tend to work our way through the prayer’s pattern by following the rhythm of the page.

The Al Cheit is a great window into the creative process of our editors.  At one early moment, we faced a very different rhythm of the page.  The page’s layout challenged our worship.  We could read or sing the Hebrew and then read or skip the English, but it was awkward to alternate in our familiar pattern.  My volunteers immediately understood one of the issues at play.  Our current machzor includes just Hebrew and English.  The pilot book juggles Hebrew, English, and transliterated Hebrew.  At one stage, the page presented itself as

HEBREW       TRANSLITERATION

HEBREW       TRANSLITERATION

ENGLISH

ENGLISH

though in fuller form.  How might we balance these three aspects of the prayer on one page? How might we honor familiar modes of Reform Jewish worship? Yet, how might we challenge ourselves to pray in new ways?

How pleasant it was to discover a different, yet more familiar, rhythm of the same basic prayer in a later version of the machzor.  Here, all three versions of the words are included.  We preserve a layout that enables us to pray as we have for decades.  We are granted the opportunity to recite these prayers in other ways, if we so choose.  There is nothing sacred about a rhythm of

HEBREW       TRANSLITERATION

ENGLISH

HEBREW       TRANSLITERATION

ENGLISH                                     

However, there is something beloved and familiar.  Reform Jews have a remarkable ability to critique our very manner of worship.  Yet, those same worshippers enjoy a certain level of comfort in the practices of our synagogues.  A new machzor will encourage exciting new approaches and tones to our communal and personal prayers.  However, the editors of the ever-evolving CCAR machzor clearly are valuing the touchstones that shape our services. 

We can’t just talk about layout when developing a new machzor. We must also discuss the choices of what to include and how to translate each passage.  However, layout matters.  My congregation and I have learned that we are in search of a certain rhythm of a page, the very layout itself, that will enable us to connect and consider our lives as we recite Al Cheit and other prayers.  The machzor’s challenge is clear, yet even broader, because other prayers might call for other rhythms on the page.

Rabbi Andrew Busch serves Baltimore Hebrew Congregation.

Learn more about the new CCAR Machzor.  For more information on piloting the machzor, email machzor@ccarnet.org.

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Machzor Blog: Faithful Translations

Some Rabbinic texts suggest that the first translation of the Torah into Greek received a kind of divine imprimatur by the Holy One himself (or, herself).  Seventy translators each produced an identical translation, a miraculous feat!  In contrast, other Rabbinic sources explicitly assert that the day the Torah was translated into Greek was as disastrous to the Jewish people as the sin of the golden calf.  So, for the past 2,500 years, translation has been fraught with danger and also with very strong reactions. And so, too for our machzor.

The fresh, poetic translations found within the new Machzor are perhaps the very first thing that pilot congregations have noticed.  The philosophy that our primary translators, Rabbis Shelly and Janet Marder, have embraced is to achieve a faithful translation that is the equivalent to the original Hebrew, but not identical to it.  Shelly writes in the introduction to the pilot for Rosh HaShanah morning: “We want to replicate the beauty, the poetry, and the richness of imagery and metaphor that the Hebrew prayer presents.  That is all but impossible if one translates word for word or phrase for phrase; to replicate beauty, poetry, and richness we must translate ‘idea for idea’ and ‘feeling for feeling.’”

Our own discussions about translation find some surprising parallels within the Catholic Church.  The English-speaking Catholic Church recently introduced a new missal for the Mass.  It chose English words that reflected a more “accurate” translation of the Latin.  But such a philosophy of translation ran counter to the wishes of many laypeople and clergy.  You can read more about this here.

In the pilot machzor, Shelly writes, “We strive here for English renderings that are as pleasing to heart, mind, soul, and ear as the original prayers are in Hebrew.”

Here are 3 renderings of the prayer, Hayom Harat Olam compiled by Shelly.  Though they differ from one another, the translations below are considered by their authors to be faithful renderings of those Hebrew prayers.

Gates of Repentence (1978, Reform)

 This is the day of the world’s birth. This day all creatures stand before You, whether

as children or as slaves. As we are Your children, show us a parent’s compassion; as

we are slaves, we look to You for mercy: shed the light of Your judgment upon us, O

awesome and holy God.

 

Mahzor Lev Shalem (2010, Conservative)

 Today the world stands as at birth. Today all creation is called to judgment, whether

as Your children or as Your servants. If as Your children, be compassionate with

us as a parent is compassionate with children. If as Your servants, we look to You

expectantly, waiting for You to be gracious to us, and as day emerges from night

bring forth a favorable judgment on our behalf, awe-inspiring and Holy One.

 

Our forthcoming Reform machzor (a work in progress)

 This day, the world is born anew, and all creation awaits Your judgment.

We are Your daughters; we are Your sons —

So love and remember us in the way of mothers and fathers.

We are Yours in service —

so let there be light to guide us in the corridors of justice and on the path of holiness.

 And here are 3 different translations of Areshet S’fateinu:

 

Gates of Repentence (1978, Reform)

 O God Supreme, accept the offering of our lips, the sound of the Shofar. In love and

favor hear us, as we invoke your remembrance.

 

Mahzor Lev Shalem (2010, Conservative)

 May the words of our lips be pleasing to You, exalted God, who listens, discerns,

considers, and attends to the sound of our shofar blast. Lovingly accept our offering

of verses proclaiming Your remembrance.

 

Our forthcoming Reform machzor (a work in progress)

 Taste the sweetness our lips sing to You, God Most High. You are knowing and

attentive, watchful and aware when we call out: T’kiah! Lovingly, favorably receive

our Service of Zichronot!

 

What strikes you most as you compare the three translations of each prayer?

What is most important to you about the English translation of a Hebrew prayer?  What are the qualities about a translation that you value most?

 [Find out more about the new CCAR machzor.]