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Days Between

Blessings, Poems, and Directions of the Heart for the Jewish High Holiday Season

Marcia Falk

Publication Year: 2014

The Jewish High Holidays—the ten days beginning with the New Year Festival of Rosh Hashanah and culminating with Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement—constitute the most sacred period of the Jewish year. During this season, religious as well as nonaffiliated Jews attend synagogue services in unparalleled numbers. Yet much of what they find there can be unwelcoming in its patriarchal imagery, leaving many worshipers unsatisfied.

For those seeking to connect more deeply with their Judaism, and for all readers in search of a contemplative approach to the themes of the fall season, poet and scholar Marcia Falk re-creates the holidays’ key prayers and rituals from an inclusive perspective. Among the offerings in The Days Between are Hebrew and English blessings for festive meals, prayers for synagogue services, and poems and meditations for quiet reflection. Emphasizing introspection as well as relationship to others, Falk evokes her vision of the High Holidays as “ten days of striving to keep the heart open to change.”

Accessible and welcoming to modern readers, The Days Between is steeped in traditional sources and grounded in liturgical and biblical scholarship. It will serve as a meaningful alternative or supplement to the traditional liturgy for individuals, families, synagogues, and communities small and large—that is, for all who seek fresh meaning in the High Holidays.

Published by: Brandeis University Press

Title Page, Other Works by the Author, Copyright, Dedication

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Opening the Heart

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Introduction: The Days Between

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pp. xix-xxvi

We measure time in lines—forward and back. We count the years of our lives from zero to the end. We count the days from Rosh Hashanah to Yom Kippur: ten.
But we also measure time in cycles—birthdays and...

Part One. Rosh Hashanah

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pp. 1-2

Approaching the Gates: Festive Meal for Rosh Hashanah Eve

Lighting the Candles for Rosh Hashanah

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pp. 4-5

Blessing of Renewal

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pp. 6-7

Blessing the Children

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pp. 8-9

Fruit of the Vine

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pp. 10-11

Fruit of the Tree: Apples and Honey

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pp. 12-13

Fruits of the Earth

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pp. 14-15

Washing the Hands

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pp. 16-17

Blessing before the Meal

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pp. 18-19

Blessing after the Meal

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pp. 20-22

Opening the Heart

Opening the Heart

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pp. 24-25

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Introduction to Un’taneh Tókef K’dushat Hayom: We Declare the Utter Sanctity of This Day

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pp. 26-27

“Un’taneh Tókef K’dushat Hayom: We Declare the Utter Sanctity of This Day”—a core passage of the Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur services in the Ashkenazic rite—has captured the Jewish imagination for centuries, despite...

Un’taneh Tókef K’dushat Hayom: We Declare the Utter Sanctity of This Day

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pp. 28-35

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Introduction to Shofarot, Zikhronot, Malkhuyot: Calls, Recalling, Callings

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pp. 36-37

Unique to the Rosh Hashanah service are three extended liturgical passages—Malkhuyot, Zikhronot, and Shofarot—each comprising a rabbinic poetic prologue, ten biblical verses, and a concluding petition and blessing. After the...

Shofarot: Calls

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pp. 38-39

Zikhronot: Recalling

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pp. 40-41

Malkhuyot: Callings

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pp. 42-45

May It Be So

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pp. 46-50

We Cast into the Depths of the Sea (Tashlikh Ritual)

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Introduction

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pp. 52-53

The ritual commonly known as Tashlikh—literally, “You [God] will cast”—takes its name from Micah 7:19: V’tashlikh bim’tzulot yam kol-ḥatotam, “You will cast [hurl, cast away] all their sins into the depths of the sea.” Performed...

Casting Away

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pp. 54-55

Facing the Sea

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pp. 56-57

The Blade of Grass Sings to the River

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pp. 58-59

The Tree Sings to the River

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pp. 60-61

From Today Is Forever

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pp. 62-64

Part Two. Window, Bird, Sky: Daily Psalms and Directions of the Heart

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Introduction

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pp. 66-

This section provides readings for the period of time from Rosh Hashanah to Yom Kippur.* The Daily Psalms offered here, along with the accompanying Directions of the Heart, are intended to support quiet openness and inner reflection...

Meditation: Window, Bird, Sky

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pp. 67-

The Gift

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pp. 68-

Seeing with the Heart

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pp. 69-

Birthday of the World

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pp. 70-

Giving Birth

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pp. 71-

Awakening

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pp. 72-

Presence

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pp. 73-

Like Buds

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pp. 74-

Gratitude

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pp. 75-

Wind

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pp. 76-

Sadness

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pp. 77-

Morning Minyan

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pp. 78-

Time

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pp. 79-

When You Look in the Mirror

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pp. 80-

Death

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pp. 81-

Open Wings

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pp. 82-

Open Questions

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pp. 83-

What Do You Hear?

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pp. 84-

Silence

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pp. 85-

What Do You Have?

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pp. 86-

Nothing

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pp. 87-88

Part Three. Yom Kippur

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pp. 89-90

Gathering In: Yom Kippur Eve

Washing the Hands

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pp. 92-93

Blessing before the Meal

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pp. 94-95

Blessing after the Meal

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pp. 96-97

Lighting the Candles, Beginning the Fast

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pp. 98-99

Blessing of Renewal

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pp. 100-101

Blessing the Children

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pp. 102-104

Turning the Heart

Tallit: Prayer Shawl

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pp. 106-107

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Introduction to Kol Nidrey: All Vows

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pp. 108-109

Kol Nidrey, one of the most commented-upon and puzzled-over passages of the holiday liturgy, is not a prayer per se but a declaration annulling all oaths and vows. Nor is it actually part of the Yom Kippur evening service but...

Kol Nidrey: All Vows

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pp. 110-111

Turning the Heart

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pp. 112-113

Confession

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pp. 114-115

Un’taneh Tókef K’dushat Hayom: We Declare the Utter Sanctity of This Day

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pp. 116-118

Remembering the Lives: (Yizkor Service)

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Introduction

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pp. 120-121

“Remembering the Lives” re-creates the memorial service commonly known as Yizkor—literally, “May God remember”—which takes place on Yom Kippur and on the “pilgrimage festivals” of Sukkot, Passover, and Shavu’ot. Although...

I Recall

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pp. 122-123

Passageways of Grieving

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pp. 124-127

Before and After

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pp. 128-129

Grief’s House

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pp. 130-131

Birds in a Dying Birch

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pp. 132-133

Enduring

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pp. 134-135

Another View

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pp. 136-137

Earth

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pp. 138-139

You Do Not Belong to You

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pp. 140-141

Beneath Shekhinah’s Wings

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pp. 142-143

Kaddish: Beauty of the World

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pp. 144-146

N’ilah: Closing of the Gates

Closing Hour

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pp. 148-149

The Great Call

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pp. 150-152

From End to Beginning

Breaking the Fast

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pp. 154-155

Coda: Open Gate

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pp. 156-158

Part Four. Entering the Gates

Service for the High Holidays

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pp. 160-161

Tallit: Prayer Shawl

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pp. 162-163

Birthday of the World

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pp. 164-

Giving Birth

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pp. 165-

Opening the Heart

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pp. 166-167

Un’taneh Tókef K’dushat Hayom:We Declare the Utter Sanctity of This Day

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pp. 168-175

Shofarot: Calls

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pp. 176-177

Zikhronot: Recalling

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pp. 178-179

Malkhuyot: Callings

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pp. 180-183

What Do You Have?

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pp. 184-

Nothing

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pp. 185-

Turning the Heart

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pp. 186-187

Confession

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pp. 188-189

I Recall

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pp. 190-191

Passageways of Grieving

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pp. 192-195

Beneath Shekhinah’s Wings

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pp. 196-197

May It Be So

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pp. 198-201

Kaddish: Beauty of the World

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pp. 202-204

Part Five. Re-visioning Un’taneh Tókef K’dushat Hayom

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Structure, Content, and Theology: An Overview

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pp. 207-209

“Judge, Prosecutor, Expert, and Witness, the One Who inscribes and seals and does the accounting”—so God is portrayed in the opening paragraph of “Un’taneh Tókef K’dushat Hayom: We Declare the Utter Sanctity of this Day,” a...

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The View from Within

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pp. 210-220

If we allow that the theme of judgment is the “frame” of Un’taneh Tókef, what might we see when we lift off the frame and look at the unembellished picture? We find it is the bold face of death that gazes back at us. My re-creation...

Acknowledgments

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pp. 221-222

About the Series

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E-ISBN-13: 9781611686067
E-ISBN-10: 1611686067
Print-ISBN-13: 9781611686050

Page Count: 248
Publication Year: 2014

Edition: Bilingual Hebrew-English ed.
Series Title: HBI Series on Jewish Women

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Subject Headings

  • High Holidays -- Prayers and devotions.
  • High Holidays -- Liturgy -- Texts.
  • Judaism -- Liturgy -- Texts.
  • Judaism -- Prayers and devotions.
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