Toward Our Efforts to be a Supportive Community:
In the event that the Clergy may not have been informed, please contact the Temple Office 201-891-4466 with the name of any congregant who is ill at home, facing surgery, or in the hospital.
When a death in your immediate family occurs, the TBR Community would like to acknowledge your loss and support you in any and all ways possible.
Please promptly notify the Temple office at 201-891-4466.
In addition, to provide pertinent information that you would like to share, call the Temple Office at 201-891-4466. Even if the service is out of town, we would like to know so that we can offer our condolences.
Shlom Bayyit (A Welcoming Home) is a column contributed by our Ritual Committee. We hope to share the joys of Judaism
with our TBR Community and encourage everyone to bring a bit more of our rich tradition into their lives.
The Melody that Haunts
It’s the service that brings more Jews into a synagogue than at any other time during the year. It’s the only service when one wears a tallis for evening prayer. It begins the only fast day commanded in Torah (Leviticus 23:27). It is our longest and perhaps most holy evening service. We often reference this night by the haunting, compelling melody that inaugurates it. It’s Yom Kippur Eve… and that melody is Kol Nidrei.
Kol Nidrei – What It’s Not:
This most recognizable melody in all Jewish liturgy is NOT a prayer asking God for forgiveness or absolution. It is in fact a legal formula, an oath which releases us from all vows made with God.
It does NOT release us from any obligations made between people. For any indiscretions we make to each other we must atone directly.
It was NOT invented by Marranos (Secret Jews) during the Spanish Inquisition, but is believed to have been written sometime around the 8th century and possibly before.
It is NOT chanted in Hebrew but rather in Aramaic.
It traditionally is NOT sung after sundown, but rather before the Yom Kippur service begins while it is still permissible to conduct legal transactions.
Kol Nidrei – The Historical Controversy:
Its original intention was to relieve Jews of obligations made under duress – ones that were not possible to keep, were forgotten or purposely avoided. After all Yom Kippur is a day of atonement, forgiveness, repentance (teshuvah) and most people fall short with regard to keeping all their vows. Rabbis have debated its inclusion in the Yom Kippur services for centuries. Misinformation has led to anti-semetic insinuations that Jews cannot be trusted to keep any vows since they recite Kol Nidrei. The original words release Jews from past vows made to God, and the Sephardic Kol Nidrei maintains this wording. In the 17th Century the Ashkenazi rabbis changed the words to reference all future vows thus limiting its legal status. In the 19th Century the chant was temporarily removed from Yom Kippur services in European synagogues. The Reform movement originally replaced its recitation with other prayers, deeming it inappropriate. The movement officially reinstated the chant in 1978.
Kol Nidrei – The Melody:
It is powerful; it overwhelms; it has an emotional draw that continues to bring Jews to synagogue on Yom Kippur Eve. The chant is traditionally sung 3 times with increasing force. Perhaps this is meant to insure that latecomers hear it, or more likely because, in Jewish Law, when a person is released from a vow the court repeats, “you are released” 3 times.
Kol Nidrei – at Temple Beth Rishon:
The evening’s mood will be set by our rabbi, instrumental accompaniment for the cantor and the choir, and the sounds of the Shofar. Past presidents will be invited to the bema to hold our Sifrei Torah as we are reminded that Torah is a Jew’s holy guide.
A traditional prayer, BiYeshiva Shel Maala, will be recited which allows us to pray with sinners. After all who among us has not transgressed, and no one should be excluded from joining us this evening.
Our cantor will chant Kol Nidrei (Ashkenazi version) which, by his own admission, leaves him physically and emotionally spent at its conclusion.
The 3x escalation will manifest itself in the sound of Sylvia Rubin’s mood-setting violin, Gary Kirkpatrick’s soulful piano and Hazzan Mamber’s chant in E minor; then a more forceful piano and violin in F minor; finally a powerful chant by cantor and choir with rising energy in G minor. Closing benedictions will follow.
The ritual committee members look forward to sharing these High Holidays with you and your family as the TBR Jewish community welcomes the New Year, 5773. In the final moments of Yom Kippur, when The Book of Life is sealed, we wish that you and your loved ones are inscribed for a Happy and Healthy New Year.
Previously Published Articles of Interest:
The December Dilemma
The Mezuzah - Jewish Home Security
Challah - Luvah
Sharing Passover Recipes
And There was Light
Sticks and Stones
How to be an Environmental Mensch
Tekiah - It's a Blast!
The Hebrew Calendar
Jewish Music in the Air
Laws of Kashruth
What's in Your Jewish Library?
The Magen David
The Number 7
The Mikvah - Not for Women Only
Kol Nidrei - The Melody that Haunts
Birkat Hamazon - Eat and Feel Blessed