jewish high holidays

So! I don’t know why Christians (who aren’t going to convert and/or don’t have Jewish family they’re supporting) want to attend high holidays but I’m uncomfortable. I don’t want y'all here. I especially don’t want y'all when you think it’s okay to wear crosses and Jesus shirts and be aggressively clear you’re not Jewish, you’re Christian and this is just a curiousity for you.

Selichot in Isfahan, Iran

Selichot are Jewish penitential poems and prayers recited in the period leading up to the High Holidays. Sephardic and Mizrahi Jews traditionally recite the selichot at dawn on weekdays throughout the month of Elul which precedes Rosh Hashanah (the Jewish new year), whereas Ashkenazim begin at midnight on the Saturday night before Rosh Hashanah.

  • Diaspora Jews: Rosh Hashanah begins tonight. We don't get any allotted time off to celebrate, so we need to take vacation days or make special arrangements to observe it. There has been no lead up to the holiday in the media; no tv movie specials, no holiday music, no seasonal Starbucks drinks. We do not decorate our houses for everyone to see and store clerks have not spent the last month telling us to have a good holiday. But nevertheless, it's actually one of the most sacred and important days in the Jewish calendar and we're all really looking forward to celebrating.
  • Western Christians: Okay...that sounds fake, but okay.

It strikes me, as the High Holidays roll in, that I’ve never seen fanart of Billy Kaplan in a tallis. I’ve seen kippahs (once or twice, te adoro, Cris), and Hannukah sweaters (fuck that), but never actually seen him presented as a Jewish man actively participating in some of the most important rites of his faith. 

All I’m saying is that there’s a reason the boy loves capes.

This is how it’s worn - more traditional ones are a big rectangle, worn long sides top and bottom, the sides folded back and up on the shoulders to keep them out of the way. They’re often held together at the front with a pair of clips & a short chain.

Sometimes they get pulled up over the head when you’re lost in thought, having a private prayer moment, or for certain prayers that require more coverage. 

And yes, they most certainly do come in rainbow, in all kinds of variations and configurations. (Mine is.)

In summation, give Billy a tallis, please! (And if someone felt inspired, I would be thrilled to write something in an art swap for it.) 

wanderlust-and-rainbows  asked:

Hi! I just started the conversion process, and I want to know what I can expect for Yom Kippur next week? What should I do? Is there a different dress code? How will the service be different from Shabbat service? (I already have a ticket to kol nidre, so if you could explain what that is that would be great)

Hi there!  What a great question.  I hope that you don’t mind that I made this public so that others can learn!

Liturgically, you will notice many similarities between an Erev Yom Kippur / Kol Nidre service and a Kabalat Shabbat evening Service.  In both, we recite the Barchu, the Maariv Aravim, the Ahavat Olam, the Shema and V’ahavta, Mi Chamocha, Hashkivenu, the Amidah (Avot v’Imahot, G’vurot, etc), probably a Mi Shaberach, the Aleinu, and the Mourner’s Kaddish.

The normal poems recited for Kabbalat Shabbat (like Lecha Dodi) are not recited during evening Yom Kippur services as we are not welcoming Shabbat.  Although this is a special Yom Kippur this year because it collides with Shabbat, we still will not use the Kabalat Shabbat liturgy. 

During the High Holidays, we include several special poems and prayers including Unatana Tokef (music),   Vidui / Confession / Al Chet (Ashamnu Music),  Avinu Malkenu (music), and the big moment of the evening Yom Kippur service: the poem Kol Nidre (music).  During this BIG moment in the beginning of the somber day, the Torahs are held before the Congregation and the poem is recited three times.

You will also notice that most of the prayers will sound different than on a typical Shabbat evening.  In Jewish prayer leading, we have what we call different “modes” of nusach (the music used to recite the prayers) for different occasions.  On the High Holidays, they are sung in mainly a minor key to reflect the somberness of these days.  Additionally, you will hear this niggun (wordless chant) throughout the holidays.

Here is a great melody of some High Holiday favorites from Congregation Kol Ami out in West Hollywood, California!

Dress:  Although people often dress up for Shabbat, people REALLY dress up for the High Holidays.  For instance, as a man, I typically wear a polo and khakis to Kabbalat Shabbat services - but I always will wear a suit on the High Holidays.   You will often see many folks wearing white as well.

Traditionally, Yom Kippur evening services are the one time of the year in which we are supposed to wear talitot.

I hope that this helps!  If not, feel free to keep asking questions!



I have the biggest grin on my face because this was shot where I was staying in Jerusalem and I’m like HEY I USED TO HANG OUT ON THAT BENCH


The High Holidays Are Approaching

… And with that, the songs of the high holidays are as well. This traditional tune is a staple of the Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur services.


Last night, my whole immediate family was together for Rosh Hashanah for the first time since my brother started college.  I made a roast chicken with apples and sage,  sweet potatoes with thyme, and a fig galette.  I think I’m most proud of the fact that this is the first meal I’ve cooked for my family where everyone ate and enjoyed everything.  That never happens.  I also made a puff pastry crust from scratch and didn’t screw it up. 

I really didn’t have the time to go home this weekend, but I’m glad I did.  My family has a very particular dynamic when it’s just the four of us.  We can make each other laugh in ways that no one else can.  There are a lot of things about my life that I don’t love right now, but I have them and it’s an unspeakable comfort.

When I was a high school freshman, I went around to all my teachers and told them I would be gone on Rosh Hashanah. I was one of only two practicing Jewish kids in my class (the total number of Jews doubled to 4 if you counted “I’m half-Jewish but I don’t really do anything but Chanukah” kids), but I got all the work I needed, arranged to get notes from classmates, and everything was cool. 

Until my mother called the main office that morning to tell them I would be out of school. 

“We don’t allow any pre-scheduled absences,” they told her. “It will have to be an unexcused absence.” 

In retrospect, I almost—almost—feel sorry for whichever unsuspecting gentile midwestern secretary picked up the phone that morning, because if I recall correctly, not only did they get hell, but that phone call was escalated to the dean’s office pretty damn quickly.

In the end, I think it was sorted, but from that day forward, whenever the Jewish High Holidays rolled around, my parents would just call the school and tell them I had a migraine. 

Let that sink in for a minute: It was more credible for me to be absent because of a headache than it was for me to have a non-Christian religious observance. 

Then again, dealing with goyim like that is enough to give anybody a headache, so I guess it wasn’t even a lie. 

Things to know about Rosh Hashanah

First of all, SHANA TOVAH! This means “happy new year” in Hebrew and it’s pronounced “sha-na toe-va.” Say this to your jewish friends before/during Rosh Hashanah (which is pronounced “rowsh ha-sha-na”, starts sundown September 13, and lasts two days, even though most US schools only give one day off, if that). They will be super impressed with your mad Hebrew language skills and also grateful that you’re recognizing one of the most important holy days in their religion, which doesn’t really get much mainstream publicity.

some other cool things to know: Rosh Hashanah looks like ראש השנה. “Rosh” means “head” in Hebrew, “ha” means “the”, and “shana” means “year.” So Rosh Hashana means “head of the year.”

Shana Tovah looks like שנה טובה in Hebrew. “Tov” or “Tovah” means “good”, so “Shana tovah” means “good year.” “Boker tov” (בוקר טוב) means good morning, “Lilah tov” (לילה טוב) means good night, etc.

Rosh Hashana is the Jewish new year, and we celebrate it by going to synagogue for a very long and occasionally tedious service. (At least that’s what I think of it). We eat sweet foods, especially apples and honey, to represent that we want a sweet year. The braided bread that you see a lot associated with Jews, challah (חלה, there’s the deep throat noise thingy on the first syllable, so it’s not chawl-ah. If you can’t make the noise, just say hal-ah) is baked in a round shape, to symbolize how a year is cyclical, instead of braided, and often people make it with raisins in it to be extra sweet. We dip it in honey too. SO GOOD.

It’s also the first in the year of the Jewish High Holy Days. At this time the Torah (תורה, the Jewish holy book) or Torahs are dressed in white covers, and some people dress in white too, or just dress up. We sing certain prayers and songs that we don’t sing throughout the year, and some of the tunes are different for what we do sing throughout the year. That’s probably my favorite part- the music. It just gives you a very holy feeling.

While it is a joyous holiday, during the High Holy Days we’re also starting to get ready for Yom Kippur (יום כיפור, pronounced “yohm keep-oor”), and we’re spending a lot of time thinking about the bad things we did during the year and trying to apologize to people we hurt, so when we atone in prayer on Yom Kippur, we already did the more important thing- atoning to the people who were affected by what we did.

There’s a bunch of Jewish holidays around this time, so I think I might make more posts about them as they come up.

shoutout to any jewish wlw spending the high holidays with their homophobic relatives

shoutout to any muslim wlw spending the new year with their homophobic relatives

shoutout to religious wlw in general who have to spend time they should be allowed to be having their own spiritual moments, instead hearing some nonsense about how they shouldn’t be allowed to be who they are

Avinu Malkeinu: A Prayer of Protest

Avinu Malkeinu– Hear our voice:

Some of us have cancer.  Some have lost strength of body: some have lost memory and speech. Some of us are in pain.  Some can’t find work.  Some of us bear the marks of human cruelty– inside, where the scars don’t show.

Some live with depression; some battle addiction, many feel alone.

Some have known shattered marriages, trust betrayed, hopes destroyed.

Some of us have lost the ones we love, far too soon.

And some have lost a child.

All of us have seen suffering our midst.

All of us know the ravages of war – for which there are no words.

Avinu Malkeinu, why?

Avinu Malkeinu, are you there?  Do you care?
Avinu Malkeinu, hear our pain.

Hear our anger.  Hear our grief.

Avinu Malkeinu, here is our prayer:

Give us the strength to go on.

Give us reasons to get up each day; give us purpose and persistence.

Help us to fend off fear and to hold on to hope.

Help us to be kind.

Don’t make us bow or grovel for Your favor.  Give us dignity and give

us courage.

Avinu Malkeinu–

Show us the way to a year of goodness.

Renew our belief that the world can be better.

Restore our faith in life.  Restore our faith in You.

source: Mishkahn haNefesh for Yom Kippur, p. 113


“Uteshuva, utefila, utzedaqa.” I love that after the litany of all the darkness and sadness in the world, our liturgy offers us this way forward: turning back to right relationships with ourselves and others, the discipline of an ongoing spiritual practice, and the relentless pursuit of justice. These indeed are the steps to take if we have any hope of redeeming our broken world (which I still believe we do). Tzom mo'il - a meaningful fast - and gmar hatima tova - may we be sealed in the Book of Life.

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anonymous asked:

A concept: Cordelia decorates the diner for all the jewish high holidays because she's a Good Friend™ and Whizzer gets REALLY into it and will stand on a tower made of books and chess boards and cardboard boxes (no matter how unsafe) to hang things on the ceiling


Whizzer probably falls, and it’s deja vu (Marvin catching him and dropping him, smh)