Page 1

KJB Guidelines for those Praying at Home Prepared by Rabbi Daniel & Rachel Kraus Edited by Rabbi Elie Weinstock


SEPTEMBER 2020, ROSH HASHANAH 5781 Dear Friends, For millennia, the Days of Awe have provided the Jewish People with a vital moment in time for spiritual renewal and self-reflection—a chance to take stock of the year that has passed and reset the table for the year ahead. This year will be no different. Though we will not be together in our sanctuaries, we will still experience togetherness. Though we will not raise our voices sitting next to one another, we will raise them in song wherever we may be. While physically distant, we will still be deeply connected–inspired anew by ancient words and traditions. With the current health pandemic and restrictions on group gatherings, our apartments have become not just our homes, but our offices, work-out studios, and so much more. Where, then, is our Synagogue? The rabbis asked this same question right after the destruction of the Temple. Without a centralized place of worship, where would Jews pray together? Thus, the rise of the Synagogue, a place for communal prayer. Today, we have expanded on their solution: our homes have become our “mikdash m’at,” a miniature sanctuary, a holy place. We need to create a sacred

space in our homes. This is a unique time for all humanity. Its has been a very strange and difficult year. Like moments of challenge before, we plan to rise to the occasion and reach you with spirit and energy. We are pleased to share this guide to praying at home, as well as guidelines and instructions to experience the High Holidays at home. One definition of a Jew is “a person who is never satisfied with the status quo, and always seeks to improve her/himself and the world.” Throughout history, Judaism has proven to be a most effective means of producing ethical and moral people and has made profound contributions to the betterment of the world. This was possible because of the deeply rooted value of education among the Jewish people. We urge you to fulfil the mission of the Jewish people by engaging in Jewihs learning.

Rabbi Daniel & Rachel Kraus

Rabbi Elie Weinstock


We are gratified at the success of the Beginners Program at KJ, but there is still so much more we can do. Please help us spread the word of what the Beginners Program has to offer: from Holiday and Shabbat experiences to a multitude of Jewish educational opportunities to the wonderful sense of community that is experienced by our congregants. Despite the pandemic around us - and indeed because of it, we are determined to make these the most meaningful and memorable High Holidays ever!

With love and blessing for a happy, healthy, successful, and sweet New Year □

George Rohr

TABLE OF CONTENTS 05 05-06 06 07 08 08-09 09 10-11


11-12 12-14 13-14 15



16-18 18-19 20 21







Happy New Year... to modern, ultra & just plain Orthodox Jews; Haredi Jews; Mitnagdim; Conservative, Conservadox, Reform & Conform Jews; Reconstructionist and Chavurah Jews; Gartel Jews; non-Gartel Jews; Jews with sheitels & without; Tichel Jews; Sheitel, tichel & hat Jews; adult & child Jews; Frum from birth Jews; Baalei Teshuva; Satmar, Agudah, black hat, kipah s’ruga, Mir, Munkacs, Belz, Beta Yisrael, Bobov, Chaim Berlin, YU Jews; payos in front of the ear Jews, payos in back of the ear Jews; kipa only in shul/hat in shul/no shul at all Jews; Mizrachi Jews; Jews by choice; Bathrobe on Friday night Jews; Likud Jews; Labor Jews; Meimad Jews; Ten Lost Tribe Jews; cardiac Jews; Irish Jews; Black Jews, White Jews, 3-day-a-year Jews; Rav Nachman Jews, Rav Shlomo Jews, Neturei Karta Jews, Hasidim, Telz, Lakewood & Ner Yisrael Jews; Chafetz Chaim Jews; zaftig Jews, skinny Jews; Fremeiners; Dinevers; Kook-ies; JTS, RJJ, HUC, HTC, MTJ, BMT Jews; celebrity Jews; Generation X, Y & Z Jews; NCSY Jews, USY Jews, NFTY Jews, BBYO Jews; Solomon Schechter Jews, Chinuch Atzmai Jews; Fackenheim Jews, Yitz Greenberg Jews, Kahane Jews; Feminist Jews, Chauvinist Jews, egalitarian Jews; traditional Jews, Kaddish-zuger Jews; political Jews, intellectual Jews, ignorant Jews; tomato Jews & orange Jews; Shinui Jews, Shas Jews, Israeli Jews, American Jews, Persian Jews, Russian Jews; Galitzianers, Litvaks, Polacks; Birthright Jews; single Jews, married Jews, wish I was married Jews; Greener Jews, Redder Jews; Scandinavian Jews, South of the Border Jews, Italian Jews; Bald Jews, hairy Jews; Canadian Jews, Latino Jews, Ladino Jews; Jews in kapotas, Jews in T-shirts, Jews in sandals (with socks or without), Jews in gym shoes, Jews in cowboy boots; Hungarian Jews, Czech Jews, Jews on the Hungarian-Czech border Jews; Ashkenazim, Sefardim, Yemenite Jews; Afrikaner Jews, Romanian Jews; Zionists, non-Zionists, anti-Zionists, post-Zionists, sometimes-Zionists; Jews with an accent, Jews who speak perfect Midwestern English Hebrew; Native American Jews, Anglo-Saxon Jews, French Jews, German Jews, Greek Jews, Indian Jews, Chinese Jews; Conspiracy Theory Jews; Japanese Jews; Shayna Punim Jews, Meesekite Jews; Closet Jews; Shnorrers, Baalei Tzedaka; Tzadikim, Baynonim, Rashaim; Chacham-Tam-Ayno Yodea Jews; Chevramen & Farbisseners; kvetching Jews; Guta Neshama Jews; Vizhnitzer, Ger, Gerer, Chabadnik, Kohanim, Levi’im, Yisraelim, Machers, Mavens, & Pashet Jews; EVERY KIND of Jew in this vast Universe:



PREPARING FOR ROSH HASHANAH PHYSICAL AND SPIRITUAL PREPARATION There are both physical and spiritual preparations to greet the New Year. On the physical side, it is customary to buy a new outfit for the holiday and to eat festive meals with family and friends. Many people wear a special

white article of clothing in honor of the “clean slate” of the new year (i.e. kippah, scarf, etc.) Many men get their tallitot (prayer shawls) cleaned at this time. Some men also have the custom of wearing a kittel, a special white robe, on Yom Kippur. Wearing white shows our hope and confidence

that our sins will be ‘whitened’ back to innocence again. During the month before Rosh Hashanah, we sound the Shofar daily and recite a special Psalm. The week before we add a series of special prayers, called Selichot as we deepen our preparations.





We think back over the errors, transgressions and rebellions we committed this year and repent for them. Formal repentance involves articulating our sins (making a list can be helpful), regretting them and affirming that we will not repeat them. For sins that had an impact upon other people, asking their forgiveness is required first.

Even if you do not ordinarily pray regularly during the year, this is a time when it is worthwhile to spend more time praying to God, whether in synagogue or even in private.

Giving tzedaka at this time of year is an act of redemption.

These three kinds of actions are said to “nullify the harshness of the decree,”, or to be the most effective ways of asking God for a good year to come. □

Selichot (penitential prayers) and Shofar Selichot are recited once each day (usually late at night or early in the morning) on the days before Rosh Hashanah and every weekday until Yom Kippur. (This year, they will be recited starting on Saturday night, Septmber 12.) They involve the invocation of God’s 13 attributes of mercy. See for the text of these prayers. During the month preceding Rosh Hashanah, the shofar is blown each morning to remind us that the holiday is approaching. Erev Rosh Hashanah, it is not blown, in order to separate between these customary blasts and the required shofar blasts on Rosh Hashanah.


Rosh Hashanah Customs EREV ROSH HASHANAH HATARAT NEDARIM (NULLIYING OF VOWS) It is customary to convene a Jewish court (beit din) on the day before Rosh Hashanah to release us from any unfulfilled vows we might have made this year. The court can be made up of any 3 Jewish men, who sit, while the petitioner stands before them and asks for a pardon for any eligible offenses (owing money, for instance, is not eligible.) A husband, upon request, can ask for release for his wife’s vows. If it is not done before Rosh Hashanah, one can still do it during the 10 days of repentance. There will be an opportunity to join a Zoom Beit Din for this ritual on Friday morning, September 18. See KJ website for details It is also appropriate to buy special clothing for Rosh Hashanah, or, at least, to make sure that suits and dresses are washed and prepared in the best way for the chag. The day of Erev Rosh Hashanah is also filled with culinary preparations; it is after all a festival and food is an important symbol on the eve of the holiday. □


FOR MEN: “l’shana tova tikateiv v’teichateim” FOR WOMEN: “l’shana tova tikateivi v’teichateimi”


a) ketiva vachatima tova (sometimes said as: kesiva vachasima tova) b) may you have a good “gebencht yor” (Yiddish) a blessing is some centuries later, dating to Rabbi Amram Gaon from the 9th century. Two candles are generally lit. On Festivals (including Rosh Hashanah) the blessing is the same except for the last two words. Instead of ending with ‘the candle of Shabbat’, it ends with ‘the candle of Yomtov’. However, sometimes Rosh Hashanah falls out on Friday night. In this case both Shabbat and Yomtov are included. In addition to the regular blessing, at the beginning of festivals the bracha of ‘she-hechiyanu’ is recited. It is a blessing acknowledging the unique moment in time, the onset of a new holiday which takes place only once a year. Candle Lighting can be found on page 5



An obligation to fill the house with light on Shabbat and festivals dates back to the Talmud though the first time we read of the custom of reciting

Following the evening services on the first night of Rosh Hashanah, it is customary to greet each individual person with the following special formula:


c) shana tova u’metuka – a good and sweet year It means: For a good year, may you be written and inscribed

KIDDUSH The Rosh Hashanah Kiddush is unique and mentions the unique nature of the holiday in addition to the festival themes. It concludes with the She-hechiyanu blessing. It is also customary to bless one’s children before Kiddush. □ Kiddush Can be found on page 99

SIMANEI MILTA - SYMBOLIC FOODS It is customary to eat special foods on the first night of Rosh Hashanah:


A) AFTER KIDDUSH AND HAND-WASHING, many have the custom to use special round challahs and to dip the bread in honey or squeeze honey on the bread.

Even though Rosh Hashanah in the Torah is recorded as a one-day event, Jewish tradition has extended it to two days as a result of a certain question they had concerning the calendar. As a result, there are two days of blowing the shofar (unless one of them is Shabbat!) and two full days of celebration and prayers. Thus, on the first night at kidush we recite the blessing on a new festival, ‘she-hechiyanu’, but there arose a debate about the second day: Did they consider it a new holiday and therefore require a new blessing of ‘she-hechiyanu’ or is it an extension of the first day in which a special blessing is not recited?

B) AFTER THE CHALLAH, many have the custom of dipping an apple in honey and saying the following blessing before eating: Baruch ata A-donai E-loheinu Melech ha-Olam, borei p’ri ha-etz After eating the apple and honey, one says: Yehi ratzon milfanecha,

A-donai E-loheinu vei’lo-hei avoteinu, she’te’chadeish aleinu shana tova u’metuka. May it be your will, O God, the God of our forefathers, that You renew upon us a good and sweet year.

C) OTHER FOODS EATEN INCLUDE carrots, leeks, beets dates and pomegranates. A special statement accompanies each food. The Hebrew names of other foods symbolize that we should prevail over our enemies this year.

Sometimes the rabbis decide one way, sometimes they decide the other way; other times they take a compromise position. In our situation the rabbis said that the best solution is to make the blessing of ‘she-hechiyanu’ but not on the new holiday, rather on a new fruit one has not eaten in the past 30 days. For this reason, Jews throughout the world will be tasting Chinese apples, cumquats, Rumbatan and other exotic fruits, as well as any regular fruit which one has not tasted over the course of the year. □

TASHLICH A custom developed to go to the sea after the Rosh Hashanah day meal and recite certain verses from Micha which are meant to symbolically cast away one’s sins into the sea. Tashlich comes from the Hebrew word meaning “to cast,” referring to the intent to cast away our sins via this meaningful and ancient Jewish custom common to both Ashkenazic and Sephardic communities. The general custom is to go to a body of water, preferably one which has fish

7 continued / TASHLICH

Creating your Mikdash Me’at (PERSONAL SYNAGOGUE)

This year, we have a unique opportunity to create a sacred space in our home as many of us will be saying (at least some of the) High Holiday prayers at home. These seven suggestions are meant to help you enhance the High Holiday experience at home, while creating a communal atmosphere for us all. • Be sure you have Maczhor to use.

continued / TASHLICH

in it, and to recite these verses. It is meant to do a symbolic act and then try to make those gestures a reality during these days. The connection to the sea is explained by Rabbi Moshe Isserlis his book, Torat Ha-olah: The deeps of the sea allude to the existence of a single Creator that created the world and that controls the world by, for example, not letting the seas flood the earth. Thus, we go to the sea and reflect upon that on Rosh Hashanah Day, the anniversary of Creation. We reflect upon proof of the Creator’s creation and of His control, so as to repent of our sins to the Creator, and so He will figuratively “cast our sins into the depths of the sea.” When the first day of Rosh Hashanah falls out on Shabbat (like this year), Tashlich is moved to the second day.

• Choose your prayer space carefully in advance by spending a few moments of individual contemplation/family discussion. Don’t wait for the last minute! • Designate set times for your prayers. Maybe choose the times of services at KJ. • What chair will you sit on? Put a cushion or festive pillow on it, or drape it with a special piece of fabric, or scarf. •

Find meaningful objects to grace your space. On Rosh Hashanah include holiday objects like candlesticks and kiddish cup, apples and honey. On Yom Kippur you can place cherished mementos, family heirlooms, and photos of loved ones to surround you. If you own a shofar, put it where it’s visible.

• Wear festive clothing that makes you feel as if you are entering a special, sacred space. •

Sing! True, maybe nobody else can hear you, but this does not mean you cannot sing out loud. Remember that third grade chorus teacher that told you to move your lips and make no sound? Now is your chance to sing as loud as you want without any fear of judgment.

No, none of these suggestions will make the High Holidays feel normal. There is nothing normal about them. But normal is not always what we need. Maybe being forcefully removed from our comfort zone is just what we need at this particular time. In any case, what have we got to lose?

The afternoon of Rosh Hashanah is dedicated to family, the Yomtov meal, Tashlich and resting. There is, however, a custom not to sleep during the day of Rosh Hashanah as it might symbolize a ‘sleepy unproductive year!’ □ Tashlich can be found on page 673



in accordance with the suggestions of Rabbi Haskel Lookstein, Rabbi Emeritus of Congregation Kehilath Jeshurun. Page numbers are from the Koren “Rohr Family Edition” one-volume Rosh Hashanah/Yom Kippur Machzor. (You should be able to find these prayers in the table of contents of whichever machzor you use.) We have also provided some suggestions in parentheses for expanding the service somewhat and enriching it, while still not overextending it.



Candle Lighting First Night - 6:40 pm (Page 5 in Machzor) Candle Lighting Second Night - after 7:34pm

MINCHA Recite Ashrei and Shemoneh Esrei

SHACHARIT 1. The Psalm of the Day On Shabbat On Sunday

page 9


2. The Penitential Psalm L’David

1. On the First Night (Friday), begin with Mizmor page 53 Shir L’Yom Ha-Shabbat and Hashem Malach (Psalms 92 & 93) 2. Recite blessings of Shema and Shema from Baruch ata A-donai, through the end of the Amida at the top of (On Friday night, add V’Sham’ru) 3.

page 57 page 67 page 65

5. The Penitential Psalm - L’David

page 171

4. P’sukei d’Zimrah A Barukh She’amar B Ashrei through Barukh hashem l’olam amen v’amen

page 201 page 205 page 229

6. Avinu Malkeinu (Sunday only)

page 95

6. Before Dinner: Recite the kiddush page 99 - 101 (On first night, begin with Yom Ha-Shishi for Shabbat. On the second night, add Havdallah.) 7.

3. Morning Blessings

page 245

(Follow the instructions in the Machzor on page 267 regarding the different order of the prayers for Shabbat and a weekday)

page 91

page 165

5. Nishmat through the Silent Amida

Recite Amidah (On first night, include phrases page 83 in parentheses for Shabbat and say the paragraph, Vayechulu after the Amida. On second night, add the section for Havdalah.)

4. Aleinu

page 163 page 159

At Dinner, after the Motzi and the eating of challah dipped in honey, slice an apple, dip it in honey, recite the blessing over it, take a bite and then recite the prayer: Yehi ratzon.


page 403

7. Torah Reading First Day Second Day

page 421 - 429 page 441 - 447

page 431 - 435 page 449 - 453

Haftara First Day Second Day

8. Shofar service (Sunday only)

page 463

9. Ashrei

page 473

MUSAF 1. The Silent Amida First Day page 483 - 517 Second Day page 483 - 517 (There is no repetition of the Amida, but pages 539 - 549 you might want to add U’Nesaneh Tokef) 2. Ein Keilokeinu

page 615-619

3. Aleinu

page 621

4. Adon Olam

page 167


KIDDUSH & FESTIVAL LUNCH Kiddush before lunch for the First and page 625 Second Day. (On the first day beign with the section for Shabbat.) MINCHA Silent Amidah

TESHUVA (REPENTANCE) – We think back over the errors, transgressions and rebellions we committed this year and repent for them. Formal repentance involves articulating our sins (making a list can be helpful), regretting them and affirming that we will not repeat them. For sins that had an impact upon other people, asking their forgiveness is required first.

page 647 - 661

(Omit Avinu Malkeinu on Shabbat)


TEFILLA (PRAYER) – We spend most of the Yom Kippur day in prayer. What else would you be doing?

MA’ARIV Pages 1485 - 1511 Remember to include the special additions for the Ten Days of the Repentance in the Amida. Havdallah

TZEDAKA (CHARITY) – Giving tzedaka is encouraged at this time of year as an act of redemption. This is why many synagogues have Rosh Hashanah, Kol Nidrei or Yom Kippur day appeals.

Page 1537


These three kinds of actions are said to “nullify the harshness of the decree”, or to be the most effective ways of asking God for a good year to come.

This brief overview of Yom Kippur laws and customs is not meant to be comprehensive, but will hopefully help you prepare for and enjoy this High Holiday season. For detailed or personal questions beyond the scope of this article, please contact one of the KJ Rabbi’s.

KAPAROT It is customary to give tzedaka the day before Yom Kippur. Some people do this by swinging an object of value over their head to ‘transfer’ their sins into and then donating it to tzedaka. Traditionally, the object has been a chicken, but money in a handkerchief suffices as well. If using a chicken, one should use the same gender chicken as they are. Some people do not practice this custom.


There is an introduction to the swinging (“b’nei adam”), followed by the 3-time recitation of the following formula (for money):

On the physical side, it is customary for men to wear a kittel, a special white robe, and for women to wear white. Wearing white shows our hope and confidence that our sins will be ‘whitened’ back to innocence again.

10 continued / KAPAROT

“zeh chalifati, zeh temurati, zeh kaparati, zeh ha-kessef yeilech litzdaka va’ani ekaneis l’chaim tovim arukim u’le-shalom.” “this is my exchange, this is my substitute, this is my atonement – this money shall go to tzedaka and I shall enter into a long and good life and to peace.”

EATING YOUR HEART OUT According to our tradition, one who eats on the day before Yom Kippur and fasts on Yom Kippur gets credited as if they fasted for both days. According to most authorities, one should eat frequently over the course of the day, making many blessings, and enjoying their eating before the fast. One should avoid spicy or dehydrating foods, though.

SE’UDA HA-MAFSEKET (FINAL MEAL) In theory, one should have a festival meal on Yom Kippur. Since this is impossible, this final meal before the fast takes its place. Many have the custom of dressing nicely, eating nice foods and making sure to eat bread (two challa rolls are not necessary, though) and bench at this meal.



Yom Kippur day has its own power of atonement, just by living through it. However, combined with the power of teshuva, repentance, almost all sins are forgivable. There are five major prohibitions on Yom Kippur day:

One has to ask forgiveness from their fellow human beings before Yom Kippur for any wrongs one committed against them. This is a prerequisite to asking God to forgive us. Thus, it is customary to approach those people and ask them to mocheil (forgive) you for what you have done to them. One should specify the wrong and state how sorry they are. If rebuffed, the rule is that you must try at least 3 times to gain forgiveness, before witnesses. Of course, you may choose to forgive those who have wronged you without them asking you for forgiveness as well.




The afternoon service is said earlier than usual. Even though it is not yet Yom Kippur, there is a Yom Kippur confession service (with the confession - “al cheit” (“for the sin of…”) and beating the chest) included in Mincha. (ATM pp.48-59) This is both to get one prepared for Yom Kippur and in the rare event that one’s life would come to an end before Yom Kippur, it gives one the opportunity of having done that confession first. □

• SEX Pregnant and nursing women and those with specific illnesses or medications should consult with both their doctors and a rabbi to establish a protocol for breaking one’s fast. Fasting is meant to spur you to do teshuva.


YOM KIPPUR EREV YOM KIPPUR – SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 27 Remember to eat and drink enough culminating in a celebratory meal in the hours before the fast.

MINCHA Follow the Machzor on pages 9-39 from Ashrei through the Amida and Aleinu


page 9 - 39

JOIN KJ BEGINNERS FOR ZOOM KOL NIDRE AT 4:00 PM Candle Lighting before 6:25 at which time the fast begins.

MA’ARIV 1. From Baruch ata A-donai through page 703 - 739 the Silent Amida. If you want to say a few of the prayers following the Amida, suggested readings are: Ya’aleh page 745 Amnam Kein page 765 Ki Hineh Ka-chomer page 771 Strongly recommend adding the prayer that takes up all of page 681. It is a reminder of how we should all be thinking about ourselves, our lives and our world on Yom Kippur and - hopefully - throughout the year. One can say it in Hebrew or English not only tonight but - in Shacharit, Musaf and Mincha tomorrow.

3. Avinu Malkeinu 4. Aleinu

SHACHARIT 1. The Psalm for the second day of the week

page 159

2. The Penitential Psalm L’David

page 165

3. Morning Blessings

page 171


page 205 page 205 page 229

P’sukei d’Zimrah A Barukh She’amar B Ashrei through Barukh HaShem l’Olam Amen v’Amen C HaMelech through the end of the Silent Amida

page 829 - 893

(Leave out all of the Shabbat additions)

6. Avinu Malkeinu

page 807

page 1011 - 1029

8. Haftara

page 1033 - 1035

9. Ashrei

page 815

Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks notes that the first record of praying for the memory of the dead goes back over two thousand years to the Maccabees. In the second book of Maccabees, Judah makes a prayer for fallen fighters and makes a collection for the Temple on their behalf. We have not stopped memorializing since. Jews remember. We remember our history, as well as our sins before God in efforts to repent; we remember the unique Biblical


page 1003

7. Torah Reading


continued / YIZKOR

5. There is no repetition of the Amida, but you might want to sy L’E-l Orech Din (page 953) and Sh’ma Koleinu (first paragraph on page 971)

page 781

2. Sh’ma Koleinu

page 821

5. Penitential Psalm - L’David

page 1057

personalities who acted righteously and ask God to remember them for us, and we remember those evil ones about whom we are commanded to never forget. It is therefore quite natural that at times of festivities, when family gathers, when rituals return to our consciousness, we remember those who are no longer physically with us anymore. Jews who seldom go to Synagogue will nevertheless be sure to appear for Yizkor (prayer of memory). Sometimes a Synagogue is a place to meet God; sometimes it is a place to meet old friends; but on very special occasions it is a place to commune with one’s past, with loved ones—letting them know of one’s welfare and connection to our Jewish roots. Interestingly, the word Yizkor does not mean ‘please remember’; rather, it means ‘He Will Remember’! The mourner who spends the rest of the day pleading with God to answer and send blessings their way—for Yizkor there is no pleading. It is a factual statement—God Will. There is no world and no religion in which its God will not remember those who passed and bind up their soul in His eternal light. Therefore, this prayer is a statement from a broken vessel to the infinite about a ‘kadosh’ (holy person). □ Yizkor can be found on page 1049





1. The Silent Amida

page 1067 - 1089

1. Ashrei/U’va L’Tzion 2. Silent Amida There is no repetition of the Amida

2. There is no repetition of the Amida, but you might want to recite: A U’nesneh Tokef page 843-845 B Temple Yom Kippur Serice (Avodah) page 1171 - 1195 C The beautiful prayer of the Kohain Gadol after he emerged from the Holy of Holies and prayed for all the things that are most precious to us. May this prayer be answered favorably for all of us. D Shema Koleinu page 945 (middle paragraph)

MINCHA page 1279

2. Haftara (the entire Book of Jonah)

page 1289

page 1399 - 1417

4. Avinu Malkeinu

page 1471

5. Sh’ma (once)

page 1477

6. Baruch Shem (three times)

page 1479

7. Hashem hu...(seven times)

page 1479


1. Torah Reading

3. Silent Amida

page 1391

MA’ARIV Pages 1485 - 1511, and Aleinu, page 1523 and L’David, page 1527

page 1303 - 1325

There is no repetition of the Amida but I recommend, again, the very meaningful prayer from the last paragraph of page 1073 almost to the end of page 1075.

4. Avinu Malkeinu


page 1383


page 1537






Mi she-beyrakh avoteynu Avraham, Yitzchak, ve-Ya’akov, Moshe, Aharon, David u-Shlomo, ve imoteynu Sarah, Rifkah, Rachel, ve Leah, hu ye-varech virapeh et:

God -- who blessed our forefathers, Abraham, Isaac, & Jacob, Moses, Aaron, David & Solomon; and our matriarchs, Sarah, Rebecca, Rachel & Leah -- please bless and heal:

(insert names)

(insert names)

be-tokh she’ar cholei Yisroel, ba’avur she anachnu mitpallim ba’avurom.

along with all the sick of Israel, for whom we pray.

Bis’khar zeh Ha-Kodosh Boruch-Hu yimalei rachamim aleyhem le ha’chalimam u le rap’otam, le ha’chazikam u le ha’ chayotam, ve yishlach lahem meheirah refuah shlaymah min ha-shamayim, refuat ha nefesh u refuat ha guf le chol ay’vareihem ve gidaihem.

In merit of our prayer, may The Holy One Blessed Be He, be filled with compassion towards them; to restore their health, to heal them, to strengthen them, and to give them vitality. From heaven, may God grant them a complete recovery -- a spiritual and physical healing -- in body and soul.

Yom Tov hu miliz’ok, u refuah kerovah lavoh, hashtah, ba’agalah u vizman kariv.

On this Holiday we cry out to You that their healing should speedily arrive, now, quickly, swiftly.

THE AVODAH (TEMPLE SERVICE) The height of the Yom Kippur experience in Biblical times was the service of the High priest in attaining atonement for himself, his family, and the entire nation, through sacrifices, incense and the scapegoat. All of Israel in Jerusalem and throughout were anxiously watching the intense service from dawn to dark and awaiting the sign that atonement had been granted. His day was crammed with activities, rituals, purifications,

clothes-changing, sprinkling, smearing, offering—all the way until the end of the day. During this grueling process he made a special prayer to God and even uttered the holy ineffable name of God ten times that day. The Talmud related that every time the High Priest uttered the name of God, all who heard it fell down on their faces. As a rule, Jews almost never fully prostrate themselves; our bowing is


from the waist but not on our knees. Other religions have instituted genuflection or fullblown prostration on a daily basis, however for Jews it feels very foreign. Yet, on Yom Kippur we fully submit ourselves before God in the Alenu prayer on (Rosh Hashanah and) Yom Kippur as well as the three times during the ‘Avoda’ when we hear the name of God, we find a spot in the Synagogue and completely prostrate before God.

There is a custom not to place our heads or knees on the stone floor, thus a towel is usually placed at the knees and forehead for the prostration. While it is a strange feeling to completely prostrate in the Synagogue, it is also quite exhilarating as we all as a community engage in complete submission to God for those moments during the service. When the ‘Avoda’ is complete and the high priest emerged unblemished (if he sinned during that time he would not make it out of the Holy of Holies alive) there was a celebration unlike ever seen during the course of the year. It is at this time that the face of the high priest shone like the sun and the children of Israel rejoiced at the idea of knowing they had received atonement from God The Avodah can be found on page 1171. □



What then does Rosh Hashanah say to us? How can it transform our lives? The genius of Judaism was to take eternal truths and translate them into time, into lived experiences. Rosh Hashanah, the anniversary of the creation of humanity, invites us to live and feel the human condition in graphic ways. THE FIRST THING IT TELLS US IS THAT LIFE IS SHORT. However much life expectancy has risen, we will not, in one lifetime, be able to achieve everything we might wish to achieve. Untaneh Tokef tells the poetry of mortality with haunting pathos:Man is founded in dust and ends in dust. He lays down his soul to bring home bread. He is like a broken shard, like grass dried up, like a faded flower, like a fleeting shadow, like a passing cloud, like a breath of wind, like whirling dust, like a dream that slips away.This life is all we have. How shall we use it well? We know that we will not finish the task, but neither are we free to stand aside from it. That is the first truth. THE SECOND IS THAT LIFE ITSELF, EACH DAY, EVERY BREATH WE TAKE, IS THE GIFT OF GOD: Remember us for life, O King who delights in life, and write us in the book of life – for Your sake, O God of life. (Zikhronot)Life is not something we may take for granted. If we do, we will fail to celebrate it. God gives us one gift above all others,

said Maimonides: life itself, beside which everything else is secondary. Other religions have sought God in heaven, or in the afterlife, the distant past or the distant future. Here there is suffering, there reward; here chaos, there order; here pain, there balm; here poverty, there plenty. Judaism has relentlessly sought God in the here-and-now of life on earth. Yes, we believe in life after death, but it is in life before death that we truly find human greatness.

THIRD, WE ARE FREE. Judaism is the religion of the free human being freely responding to the God of freedom. We are not in the grip of sin. We are not determined by economic forces or psychological drives or genetically encoded impulses that we are powerless to resist. The very fact that we can do teshuva, that we can act differently tomorrow than we did yesterday, tells us we are free. Philosophers have found this idea difficult. So have scientists. But Judaism insists on it, and our ancestors

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proved it by defying every law of history, surviving against the odds, refusing to accept defeat.

FOURTH, LIFE IS MEANINGFUL. We are not mere accidents of matter, generated by a universe that came into being for no reason and will one day, for no reason, cease to be. We are here because a loving God brought the universe, and life, and us, into existence – a God who knows our fears, hears our prayers, believes in us more than we believe in ourselves, who forgives us when we fail, lifts us when we fall and gives us the strength to overcome despair. The historian Paul Johnson once wrote: “No people has ever insisted more firmly than the Jews that history has a purpose and humanity a destiny.” He concluded: “The Jews, therefore, stand right at the center of the perennial attempt to give human life the dignity of a purpose” (Paul Johnson, A History of the Jews, Prologue). That too is one of the truths of Rosh Hashanah.

FIFTH, LIFE IS NOT EASY. Judaism does not see the world through rose-tinted lenses. The sufferings of our ancestors haunt our prayers. The world we live in is not the world as it ought to be. That is why, despite every temptation, Judaism has never been able to say the Messianic Age has come, even though we await it daily. But we are not bereft of hope because we are not alone. When Jews went into exile, the Shekhina, the Divine Presence, went with them. God is always there, “close to all who call on Him in truth” (Ps. 145:18). He may hide His face, but He is there. He may be silent, but He is listening to us, hearing us and healing us in ways we may not understand at the time but which become clear in retrospect. SIXTH, LIFE MAY BE HARD, BUT IT CAN STILL BE SWEET, the way the challah and the apple are on Rosh Hashanah when we dip them in honey. Jews have never needed wealth to be rich, or power to be strong. To be a Jew is to

live for simple things: the love between husband and wife, the sacred bond between parents and children, the gift of community where we help others and others help us and where we learn that joy is doubled and grief halved by being shared. To be a Jew is to give, whether in the form of tzedaka or gemilut ĥasadim (acts of loving-kindness). It is to learn and never stop seeking, to pray and never stop thanking, to do teshuva and never stop growing. In this lies the secret of joy. Throughout history

there have been hedonistic cultures that worship pleasure and ascetic cultures that deny it, but Judaism has a different approach altogether: to sanctify pleasure by making it part of the worship of God. Life is sweet when touched by the divine.

SEVENTH, OUR LIFE IS THE SINGLE GREATEST WORK OF ART WE WILL EVER MAKE. Rabbi Joseph Soloveitchik, in one of his earliest works, spoke about Ish HaHalakha, the halakhic personality and its longing to create, to make something new, original. God too longs for us to create and thereby become His partner in the work of renewal. “The most fundamental principle of all is that man must create himself.” That is what teshuva is, an act of making ourselves anew. On Rosh Hashanah we step back from our life like an artist stepping back from his canvas, seeing what needs changing for the painting to be complete. EIGHTH, WE ARE WHAT WE ARE BECAUSE OF THOSE WHO CAME BEFORE US. Our lives are not disconnected particles. We are each a letter in God’s book of life. But single letters, though they are the vehicles of meaning, have no meaning when they stand alone. To have meaning they must be joined to other letters to make words, sentences, paragraphs, a story, and to be a Jew is to be part of the strangest, oldest, most unexpected and counterintuitive story there has ever been: the story of a tiny people, never large and often homeless, who nonetheless outlived the greatest empires the world has ever known – the Egyptians, Assyrians, Babylonians, the Greeks and Romans, the medieval empires of Christianity and Islam, all the way to the Third Reich and the Soviet Union. Each in turn thought itself immortal. Each has gone. The Jewish people still lives. So on Rosh Hashanah we remember and ask God to remember those who came before us: Abraham and Isaac, Sarah, Hannah and Rachel, the Israelites of Moses’ day, and the Jews of every


generation, each of whom left some living legacy in the prayers we say or the melodies in which we sing them.And in one of the most moving verses of the middle section of Musaf we recall the great words said by God through the prophet Jeremiah: “I remember of you the kindness of your youth, your love when you were a bride; how you walked after Me in the desert, through a land not sown” (Jer. 2:2).

Our ancestors may have sinned, but they never stopped following God though the way was hard and the destination distant. We do not start with nothing. We have inherited wealth, not material but spiritual. We are heirs to our ancestors’ greatness.

NINTH, WE ARE HEIRS TO ANOTHER KIND OF GREATNESS TOO, that of the Torah itself and its high demands, its strenuous ideals, its panoply of mitzvot, its intellectual and existential challenges. Judaism asks great things of us and by doing so makes us great. We walk as tall as the ideals for which we live, and those of the Torah are very high indeed. We are, said Moses, God’s children (Deut. 14:1). We are called on, said Isaiah, to be His witnesses, His ambassadors on earth (Is. 43:10). Time and again Jews did things thought impossible. They battled against might in the name of right. They fought against slavery. They showed that it was possible to be a nation without a land, to have influence without power, to be branded the world’s pariahs yet not lose self-respect. They believed

with unshakable conviction that they would one day return to their land, and though the hope seemed absurd, it happened. Their kingdom may have been bounded by a nutshell, but Jews counted themselves kings of infinite space. Judaism sets the bar high, and though we may fall short time and again, Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur allow us to begin anew, forgiven, cleansed, undaunted, ready for the next challenge, the next year.

AND FINALLY COMES THE SOUND OF THE SHOFAR, piercing our defenses, a wordless cry in a religion of words, a sound produced by breath as if to tell us that that is all life is – a mere breath – yet breath is nothing less than the spirit of God within us: “Then the Lord God formed man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and man became a living being” (Gen. 2:7). We are dust of the earth but within us is the breath of God.

And whether the shofar is our cry to God or God’s cry to us, somehow in that tekia, shevarim, terua – the call, the sob, the wail – is all the pathos of the Divine-human encounter as God asks us to take His gift, life itself, and make of it something holy by so acting as to honor God and His image


on earth, humankind.For we defeat death, not by living forever but by living by values that live forever; by doing deeds and creating blessings that will live on after us; and by attaching ourselves in the midst of time to God who lives beyond time, “the King – the living, everlasting God.”The Hebrew verb lehitpalel, “to pray,” more precisely means “to judge oneself.” On Rosh Hashanah we stand in judgment. We know what it is to be known. And though we know the worst about ourselves, God sees the best; and when we open ourselves to Him, He gives us the strength to become what we truly are. Those who fully enter the spirit of Rosh Hashanah emerge into the new year charged, energized, focused, renewed, knowing that to be a Jew is to live life in the presence of God, to sanctify life for the sake of God, and to enhance the lives of others – for where we bring blessings into other lives, there God lives. □


Sometimes even the corniest of old jokes has a profound lesson to teach us. “How many psychologists does it take to change a light bulb?” In case you haven’t already heard the answer to this example of tired “light bulb” humor, it goes like this: “Just one. But it has to be willing to change!” This witticism, if it deserves that name, recognizes an important limitation of the profession of psychotherapy. It can only be effective to the extent that patients or clients are motivated to cooperate with the process. Only if they are committed to doing the hard work of personal change can psychotherapists look forward to success. Willingness to change is a rare trait among humans. People are frightened of anything new and adhere to the status quo even when it has brought them little benefit. Rabbi Abraham Isaac Kook, the first chief rabbi of the land of Israel, wrote a precious little book entitled The Lights of Return. In it he insists that the “human tendency to cling desperately to old ways and ancient habits is the sign of a spiritual malaise” Rav Kook wrote this book early in his life. In his later years, he not only recommended it to others, but he studied it himself,

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especially at the time of year in which we now find ourselves For we are now in the waning days of the month of Elul with the High Holidays imminent. The theme of this period of the Jewish calendar is teshuvah, which, although usually translated as “repentance”, is better translated as “return”, or still better as “change”. A fundamental teaching of Judaism is the following verse from Ecclesiastes: “For no man is perfect in this world, doing only good and never sinning.” We all need to improve, we all need to change. This is the central message of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur for the Jew. The fundamental difference between optimists and pessimists is that the former believe that change is possible, whereas the latter believe that attempts to change are futile. “You can’t change human nature.” “The leopard cannot change his spots.” “Once a fool always a fool.” These are the mottos of the pessimists, and the assumptions they make are the very stuff of the entrenched resistance to genuine change in our behaviors and attitudes. Books have been written and countless sermons sounded with all sorts of advice as to how to go about change. Some believe that it is a slow, gradual, step-by-step process. Others insist that change requires a dramatic leap of faith, and can be done in a transformational moment. Some believe that change happens because of external circumstances, or social pressures imposed by other people. Others maintain that, on the contrary, change can be intentional and purposefully initiated by every person himself or herself. Jewish texts recognize that there are two types of change; one indeed, a slow, painstaking path, and the other, a rapid and sudden personality shift. Jewish tradition recognizes that others influence and mold our paths, but that the ultimate responsibility for spiritual change lies with each of us ourselves.

I would like to share with you all one fascinating example of two individuals working together in a purposeful but deliberately incremental change process. It is to be found in the writings of a man known as the Rebbe of the Warsaw Ghetto. His name was Rabbi Kalonymus Kalman Shapiro, and his career as an outstanding pedagogue and teacher of adolescent boys was tragically cut off by the horrors of the Holocaust. Rabbi Shapiro wrote a book aimed at his young protégés, giving them the following piece of advice to be initiated at the beginning of the school semester. He asks the student to imagine, if his name, for example, is Reuven, what “Reuven” might look like a month from now, six months from now, a year from now. Once the young man has some sort of image of what his future self might be he can consciously begin to take steps to approximate this image. He can set specific goals and objectives to come closer to his self ideal, step by tentative step. And every so

often, he can monitor his progress, accelerating the process, modifying it if necessary, or slowing it down if things are going too quickly. The Rebbe encourages the young man to collaborate with a friend or a mentor as he goes through this process of


self-change and self-development. At this time of the Jewish New Year, as many do around the time of the secular New Year, we all tend to make resolutions. Rabbi Shapiro’s technique is but one of the numerous methods which can assist us in formulating such resolutions and in successfully executing them. The sanctity of this season inspires us, like the light bulb, to be willing to change. We must turn to the wise and the experienced among us, be they living friends, mentors, and spiritual guides, or past scholars, rabbis, and teachers, for suggestions of specific techniques as to how to really change.

Judaism always insists upon the utility and the importance of textual study. At this time of year study is no less important than prayer. Especially if our study focuses upon finding ways to achieve desired change, and to maintain that change in the face of challenge and ever shifting circumstances. Every time we wish each other a Happy and Sweet New Year, we are really saying, “I hope that you are successful in your attempts to change yourself and improve yourself in the coming year.” It is in that spirit that I wish each of you, dear readers, a Happy and Sweet New Year! □


SHABBAT • • • • •

Light Shabbat candles Go to for weekly times Make Kiddush on Friday night Organize a Shabbat meal for family and friends Attend KJ Beginners Shabbat Services each week Be a part of Shabbat Across America!

HOLIDAYS • • • • • •

ACTS OF CHESED (KINDNESS) • Visit the elderly. See to explore opportunities • Visit the sick - Call the Lenox Hill Hospital Bikur Cholim at 212.744.4748 to get involved • Write a letter to an Israeli soldier Check out • Become a community volunteer See for opportunities • Smile

STUDY • • • •

Celebrate the next Jewish holiday of Sukkot Buy a menorah in time for Chanukah Hear the Megillah reading on Purim Attend a Passover Seder Learn about all the holidays on the Jewish calendar Bring a friend to next year’s KJ Beginners High Holiday services


Set aside time for daily Torah study on any topic Attend a Jewish class (We have plenty!) Learn Hebrew Share your Jewish knowledge with someone else


• Affix mezuzahs to the doors of your home • Make your kitchen kosher • Buy some new Jewish books • Have a tzedakah (charity) box and contribute regularly

Upcoming KJB Events KJ BEGINNERS HIGH HOLIDAY PROGRAMMING For more information see


ROSH HASHANAH EVE Fri, Sept 18 | 4:00 pm

YOM KIPPUR EVE KOL NIDREI Sun, Sept 27 | 4:00 pm



KJB IN CENTRAL PARK Join Rabbi Daniel & Rachel Kraus for some Rosh Hashanah Inspiration, Holiday treats, l’chaims and a chance to feel the holiday spirit with familiar KJ Beginners (masked) faces in a socially distant way.

SHOFAR TO BE SOUNDED AT 12:15, 12:45 & 1:15 PM ROSH HASHANAH DAY I Sat, Sept 19 | 12:00 pm - 1:30 pm (84th Street Entrance behind the MET)

ROSH HASHANAH DAY II Sun, Sept 20 | 12:00 pm - 1:30 pm (84th Street Entrance behind the MET)


Profile for Esther Feierman

KJB Guide for those Praying at Home  

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