As the high holy days approach, many of us dutifully make arrangements to attend services in hopes that this will be the year that we are moved to feel a connection, to gain a deeper understanding of its meaning, and to be changed in a way that enriches our lives in the new year. It is our intention- in Hebrew, kavannah, that these high holy day services will answer this call of our hearts and minds.
Both the Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur service will include the key elements that many have come to expect at this time of year, and some will have a new form. It is our hope that the traditional Torah reading is transformed into an experience of revelation through Hebrew and English chanting from the Torah; the mitzvah of the shofar blowing and its accompanying themes will be contextualized so that they evoke deeper connection; words of Torah will be shared in ways that invite your thoughts and reactions, repetition of key prayers through song and musical accompaniment will be introduced so that the words can enter our hearts. When we gather at the water to empty our pockets of crumbs and sins, we hope the Tashlich service will begin to create a sense of community in the shared journey we are making together through the Yamim Nora’im- the days of awe between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur.
True to the intention of having a “high holiday experience” we will begin the Yom Kippur service with the haunting melody of Kol Nidre played by cello or violin. We will enter into this most holy day of the year through asking and offering forgiveness, recalling our loved ones in the traditional Yizkor service, and supporting one another in this deep day of prayer. In the afternoon, we will have the chance to come together in the contemplative space of chant and meditation to add to the depth of meaning of the day. When we gather at break fast, we pray each of us will have come through these high holy days having been cleansed, purified, and ready to live our lives even more fully in this new year.