High Holidays Unbound: Listen (with Annotations and Links)


This annotated version of our High Holidays playlist includes more information on why each song was included. It also includes links to each song at genius.com so that you can see the words and also see the interpretations that the web site has given to each word and line.

To easily listen to the High Holidays Unbound playlist, click either of the links below:


The Torah Service. Traditionally, the Torah service includes an opening blessing; a reading from the Torah (the first five books of the Bible), which is broken up into five sections (called aliyot); a reading (called the haftarah) from the later books of the Bible that echoes the earlier reading in some way; and some concluding prayers.

  1. It Ain't Necessarily So (sung by Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong, written by George and Ira Gershwin) 

  2. Father and Son (Cat Stevens)

  3. Adam Raised a Cain (Bruce Springsteen)

  4. Highway 61 Revisited (Bob Dylan)

  5. Story of Isaac (Leonard Cohen)

  6. Cat's in the Cradle (Harry Chapin)

  7. The River (Bruce Springsteen, from Live 1975-85)

  8. Down to the River to Pray (Alison Kraus)

  9. Hey, That's No Way to Say Goodbye (Leonard Cohen)

  10. Come Healing (Leonard Cohen)

We've intentionally designed our playlist not to include any traditional prayers or Hebrew so that it can be maximally accessible to people who do not connect with traditional prayers and do not speak Hebrew. We have found some other playlists online that you may also find interesting and valuable. Please let us know if you find any that we've missed.

1. J.J Goldberg, columnist for The Jewish Daily Forward newspaper, put together a Rosh Hashanah playlist and a Yom Kippur playlist in 2015.

2. Music critic Jody Rosen created a Songs of Atonement playlist on Jewcy, now part of Tablet, in 2007.