Beit Ahavah's High Holyday Dream: New Machzorim!

In years past, Beit Ahavah has used the Reform Gates of Repentance (1978, revised 1996) as our High Holydays machzor, along with a musical handout.   This year, we have the opportunity to purchase and make available to our members the new Reform machzor, the Mishkan HaNefesh: Machzor for the Days of Awe (2015), a stunning two-volume set created with our contemporary world in mind.   The publisher, CCAR (Central Conference of American Rabbis) Press, is making these prayer books available for a limited time through August, at a discount of 25% for synagogues. 

Our goal is to purchase 150 sets (or beyond to soar even higher) of these prayer books - our deadline is extended through Monday, August 10! - enough to put a set in the hands of every member-household, and to have available for those who join our community for Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, and to enable Rabbi Riqi to utilize in Visual T’filah (virtual services), and in-hand for years to come when we will be back together in harmony.  An Anonymous Donor has made a founding donation of 20 sets, so we are well on our way!

Here is what CCAR says about the new Machzor prayer books:

"Mishkan HaNefesh, the new Reform machzor, was compiled with great care to meet the needs of the contemporary Reform Jewish community, and reflects the many changes that have occurred over the past decades.  It honors the contemporary Jewish experience of the High Holy Days as both a communal and a deeply personal spiritual journey.  Traditional prayers are interwoven with contemporary literature and art:  Walt Whitman, Leah Goldberg, Langston Hughes, Grace Paley, and Pablo Neruda sit next to the ancient prayers, engaging communities beyond the rote call-and-response of traditional worship - linking what is experienced in worship with experiences outside of the synagogue."

With shipping and handling costs, each 2-volume set of books will cost $36, an auspicious price (a double chai!).   For anyone who contributes $36, we will make the books available for you for High Holyday services.   Any contribution you make beyond $36 will go toward putting prayer books in the hands of other members of our Beit Ahavah community.  

These prayer books are also a wonderful way for extended family members like relatives, grandparents, friends, supporters to make a tangible contribution to help enrich the experience and joy in our Beit Ahavah community - from generation to generation (L’dor v’dor).   So we encourage you to be generous!   Bookplates inside the front cover can be dedicated “In Honor of/In Memory of” a person or event.   (We will follow up within a few days to get inscription information from you.)

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if every family, household and community member had a set of the new machzor in their hands for this year’s High Holydays, and for our community to use for years to come?

From Rabbi Riqi Kosovske:

“In every generation, we combine our ancient wisdom with our innermost new understandings and desires to heal the world.   This is our sacred living poetry we call liturgy, or community.   When we combine the two they come to life.  When I hold these soft Mishkan Hanefesh prayer books in my hands, so beautifully published, fully transliterated and comforting to the hands and heart, I also feel enlivened and ready to enter the new year, to push myself and each other to be present, 'an entranceway into new beginnings' (Rabbi Hara Person, pg. 37).   I will be thrilled to explore these new machzorim with our beloved Beit Ahavah community!” 

From Lauri Meade, Beit Ahavah member:

“For many years when I chaired the High Holydays committee, we would meet weekly for months before Rosh Hashanah to spiritually prepare ourselves and the community for the upcoming high holy days.  The year that the new Machzorim came out, I bought a set and during the committee meetings we would start with a half hour of study.   We would read a few pages from the Machzorim and reflect.  The books are arranged similar to our Shabbat prayer book, the traditional prayer, transliteration and modern translation or on the right hand side of the page and then profound, alternative passages, poetry and readings, reflective of the traditional right hand side,  on the left. I believe the moment of opening the new Machzorim set was a transformation for myself and the committee.   Even now, I just leaf through these brilliant books to find comfort and direction.  This is just the focus we need in these difficult times, something profound to look forward to for the upcoming high holy days.”  

Thank you very much/Todah Rabbah for helping us fulfill our High Holyday dream!


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Geoffrey Friedman 
Florence, MA
Beit Ahavah 
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