The U'netaneh Tokef prayer says: On Rosh Hashanah it is inscribed, and on Yom Kippur it is sealed: Who shall live and who shall die, who shall perish by water and who by fire, who by famine and who by thirst . God's got it on His iPhone, of course.
Within the calendar that constitutes the Jewish cathedral in time, no days are more saturated with the experience of human nature, and with experiments in human change, than the Days of Awe. This is when we are asked, paradoxically, both to steep in our powerlessness to escape our species' fate, and yet also to try out behaviors that can rescue us from our destinies.
Video of Kol HaMispallel by the Yeshiva boys choir.
Self-help books are essential tools.
The High Holidays provide some of the greatest frissons one can experience in a synagogue. And the music is, indeed, a big part of those rising chills.
The centerpiece of the third section of the Tanach, the section known as Ketuvim (the Writings), is the Book of Psalms. The Book of Psalms contains some of the most majestic poetic images in the history of the Hebrew language.
There was a time when Jews dominated the ranks of American orchestras, and superstars like Leonard Bernstein and Isaac Stern were musical ambassadors to the world. The fact that today's master Jewish musicians tend to have proteges with names like Yo Yo Ma, Kyung-Wha Chung and Lang Lang is one hint that for many Jews, classical music is no longer a top priority.
Nods to religion in Bob Dylan's song lyrics.
My father has always revered Joe Louis. Asurprising hero, perhaps, for a man born and raised in far-awayHungary. Not the hero one might expect of a Jewish cantor, whose workall his life has been singing liturgy in synagogues. Yet, among themost vivid memories I have from my childhood in Hungary and Israel,through my teen-age years in the United States, are the stories myfather told of Joe Louis.