Adding not Replacing

by Rebecca Einstein Schorr on 12 September 2013 @ 3:30 pm


I love the High Holy Days.
I love the drama.
I love the music.
I love the liturgy that pushes me past my comfort zone and forces me to confront my soul.

So too do I love our ability to augment the traditional liturgy with words that reflect modernity.

When I was a kid, our rabbi asked the congregation to submit, anonymously of course, modern day sins to be read aloud during the Viddui sections of the Yom Kippur services. Not to replace the words in the machzor, but to augment them. It was, I think, a brilliant and forward-thinking request. Long before we talked openly about homophobia, elderly abuse, sexual violence in the public sphere, these sins were being read aloud in shul. Naming them. Raising awareness. And forcing us to confront them.

Since then, I have added modern prayers to my congregational prayer (when I was on the pulpit) and to my personal prayer. One based on the Hin’ni by my professor, of blessed memory, Dr. Stanely Chyet, and a Parents’ Viddui by my dear friend, Jordana Horn. Not to replace but to enhance my own soul work.

This year, I will be adding a new prayer to my own confessional. It is one of my own creation. It is a confession of the sins of exclusion. I am so proud that it appears on Zeh Lezeh — the blog of The Ruderman Family Foundation. I encourage you to read it and, if it resonates with you, to add it to your own worship.


And while we are on the subject of the High Holy Days, my reflection of this year’s Rosh HaShanah is over at Kveller.

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