High Holy Days

If You Build It, It May Fall

Each sukkah must strike a delicate balance between material protection and the need for God’s shelter.


When it comes to hardware stores, count me as a One-Day-A-Year Jew — and that day is comes around just before the holiday of Sukkot, when over the years I would struggle to put up our family sukkah in the backyard. Thank God it only has to stand for eight days.

Gary Rosenblatt

Secrets Of The Holy Day

Special To The Jewish Week

“And Aaron is to come to the Tent of Meeting and remove the linen garments that he had put on before entering the Sanctuary, and he is to leave them there” [Leviticus 16:23].

Not only were these vestments removed, but the clothing that the Kohen Gadol (High Priest) wore when he achieved complete forgiveness for the Jewish People had to be buried. Those clothes were never to be worn again, not by him and not by anyone else. 

Rabbi Neal Fleischmann

For Israel, A Difficult Season Of Reckoning

Special To The Jewish Week

The season of reckoning is upon us. This is the time of the High Holy Days, when we are called upon to go into introspection mode and identify particular sins of commission or omission. Jewish tradition calls upon us to repent and to make amends.

Rabbi Sid Schwarz

Nailing It Down

Getting a manicure, complete with a Jewish history lesson.

Special To The Jewish Week

Before every major holiday, I indulge in a special manicure featuring Jewish-themed nail decals with my son’s girlfriend Vivyan. For Chanukah, the tiny blue dreidels spin with every wave of our hands. On Passover, the plagues are upon us — hail on our thumbs, shank bones on our pinkies. Even though I never intended a manicure to be anything other than a manicure, this fun tradition has also unexpectedly become a painless opportunity to explain Jewish customs and history to Vivyan, a Buddhist Vietnamese-American.

Angela Himsel

Preparing The Wall For The High Holidays

Staff Writer

According to legend, a destitute man came to a rabbinic sage in Jerusalem in the middle of the 18th century, complaining of his economic plight. The rabbi’s advice: He wrote an amulet on parchment and instructed the man to place it between the stones of what was then called the Wailing Wall.

New Cantor Building Musical Bridges Across Traditions

Chazzan George Mordecai filling big shoes in White Plains.

Westchester Correspondent

It’s not easy stepping into the shoes of legendary Cantor Jacob Mendelson, especially as the High Holy Days roll around. The cantor, who is the subject of the 2005 documentary “A Cantor’s Tale,” is renowned not only at Temple Israel Center in White Plains, but throughout the Jewish liturgical world as well for his voice, musical talents, presence and inspiration to the generations of cantors he trained.

Chazzan George Mordecai came to Westchester from Australia, with stops in Israel and several U.S. congregations.

Synagogues Get Their Own (Scape)Goat

Staff Writer

When Sarah Lefton first came up with the pre-Yom Kippur app eScapegoat, she thought it would be a cute way to bring awareness to the Leviticus story behind the ritual of atonement.

eScapegoat app offers an online way to do repentance for the High Holy Days.

An Inconvenient Truth

Gauging global threats, from climate change to the enemies of Israel and the West.

Editor and Publisher

I imagine that it was far easier for progressive Jewish organizations and synagogues to attract young Jews to participate in Sunday’s People’s Climate March than, say, attend a rally in support of Israel or come to synagogue on the High Holy Days.

It’s just an observation, not a value judgment, and I can’t prove it, but that’s the sense I have, based on conversations with people across the generations. And I think it bears exploring why that is and what it portends for our Jewish future.

Gary Rosenblatt

Holiday Preparations, Part II

Editor's Note: On July 5, the New Normal published Part I of this piece, which exhorts people with disabilities to take ownership of their High Holiday experience by discussing necessary accommodations in advance with their rabbi and synagogue staff. In Part II, Rabbi Michael Levy suggests specific questions people with disabilities might find useful to ask in the days leading up to Rosh Hashannah, which starts September 4.

An Important Turning Point

My parents, may they rest in peace, once did all my High Holiday planning. When I began exploring other synagogues, it became my rightful responsibility to arrange for Braille prayer books wherever I worshipped. This was, of course, essential when it was I who was leading the services. We must each consider our disability and plan accordingly.

Rabbi Michael Levy

Matot Ma-asei And Holiday Preparation: Ask Now And Don't Be Embarrassed

The Torah reading for Shabbat July 6, Matot Ma-asei, includes a travel section (Numbers 1, 1-38.) It recounts the 42 places which the Israelites visited during their 40-year sojourn in the wilderness before entering the land of Israel.

The author, a rabbi who is blind, urges congregants with disabilities to think ahead about High Holiday accomodations. Fotolia
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