Category Archives: liturgy

DRBR 19: In which music is read from right to left

This is an illustration from a larger poster paying tribute to the Jewish composer, Zavel Zilberts, special call number DR8-R22. The poster’s from Lodz, 1918; it’s in Yiddish, which is why I didn’t photograph all of it. What caught my eye–and hopefully also caught yours–was that the music is written right-to-left. Makes sense, given that […]

Fun with piyutim – Iti Milvanon, 2/4

Part 1 Since this is a poem for Shabbat Nachamu, a poem which references the first verse of the haftara we say that day, I wanted to have that haftara in the border. It’s Isaiah chapter 40:2 ff and a bit of 41; it starts in the top right-hand corner. There are a couple of […]

Fun with piyutim – Iti Milvanon, 1/4

This is a liturgical piece, a Magen by Qallir for Shabbat Nachamu. A Magen is the first in a sequence of poems adorning the first three berakhot of the Amidah, up to the Kedusha; the Magen adorns the first berakha, “Magen Avraham.” Translation from the ever-estimable Mar Gavriel: With Me, from Lebanon, you shall not […]

on planning rituals

I write Torah scrolls for congregations, and part of my job is working closely with the congregation to make appropriate programming. Such as, for instance, an opening ritual. A good ritual starts by speaking to who the community is, and inspires them with a vision of who they want to be. My job as the […]

Poetical interlude

I went to a talk at the Jewish Theological Seminary a while back, on the poetry of Yehuda haLevi. Specifically, two translators were talking about their approaches to translating haLevi’s poetry. Those of us who work with Bible translations frequently have occasion to remark that translations are necessarily also commentaries, and this talk emphasised the […]

The Back to School Niggun

Rosh Chodesh guest post from MarGavriel In many Jewish communities, part of the blessing for each upcoming month is sung in a tune which is emblematic of that month. In the South German tradition, it is typically the last words of the prayer, beginning with לחיים ולשלום, which are chosen for this purpose. The cantor […]

Eicha pictures

Tisha b’Av seems a long time ago, now that Yom Kippur is on us, but I am finally posting those pictures of Megillat Eicha I promised you all those weeks ago. First – Eicha scroll, bodaciously swathed in black. Next – reading from the scroll, mostly backlit by candlelight. The candles were very atmospheric, but […]

The Maker of THE peace – oseh ha-shalom; a liturgical post for the Ten Days

A Livejournal friend mused: During the Ten Days of Repentance, we change the wording “Oseh shalom bimromav” (The One who creates peace on high) to “Oseh HA-shalom bimromav” (The One who creates THE peace on high) in two places — at the end of Amidah and at the end of Kaddish. But apparently we don’t […]

More literature from MarGavriel

We have just emerged from the doom and gloom of the Ninth of Av. In the various Ashkenazic Rites, as well as in the Italian and the old Byzantine (“Romanioti”) rites, the largest and most central piece of the morning service of this day is the Qinoth (poems of lamentation) by the great poet Eleazar […]

Eicha reading in Washington Heights

I’m having a home reading of Eicha – from a klaf – *because* of reading from a klaf, yay – in Washington Heights, on leyl 9 Av, 9pm. If a minyan of people are interested, there could also be maariv, kinot, etc. Normally I would append “and watermelon, cookies and so forth” to such sentiments, […]