This Rabbi’s Desk column for September is about this year’s High Holy Day journey – my overall philosophy, what to expect, what’ll be similar to past years at Shir Ami, what’ll be different and why. This column also includes links to two new melodies that we'll use, and a few suggestions for making the most of our journey together.
From my heart to yours, I send blessings for a 5784 of sweet goodness for each of you and your loved ones, and our beloved Congregation Shir Ami. Here we go!
A Quick Summary
Many things about the High Holy Days at Shir Ami will be very similar to last year. The prayerbook, musical director and vocal quartet, Torah readers, Kol Nidre cellist, Yizkor experience and many tunes will be the same. The confluence of Erev Rosh Hashanah and Shabbat require some liturgical changes on both Erev Rosh Hashanah and Rosh Hashanah's first morning, and Shir Ami will experiment with a Rosh Hashanah Day 2 to enfold rituals omitted the prior day due to Shabbat.
This year will feature two new tunes (Return Again and an Ahavat Olam setting) that the community is invited to hear in advance. We'll use them on Selikhot evening (Sept. 9), when we'll co-write part of our Yom Kippur liturgy together. This year also will make some changes to Unetaneh Tokef and Yom Kippur afternoon to freshen those offerings in close coordination with the community's leadership.
Because the prayerbook omits many transliterations and translations, this year everything we do will be on user-friendly slides in addition to the prayerbook itself. This addition also will help bring deeper meaning to what we do together.
Please read below for details, more information and a few invitations and requests from me.