High Holidays Unbound: Read

Looking for some interesting reading material to enhance your Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur? You'll find tons of it on this page. From full-length book recommendations to online articles, this is the place to find compelling reading for this time of the Jewish calendar year.


Books for The High Holiday Season

Image Credit: Jewish Book Council

Image Credit: Jewish Book Council

Check out the Jewish Book Council's recommendations for 10 "awesome" books for the days of "awe" by clicking here. Their choices range from poetry collections (such as Marge Piercy's Made in Detroit) to re-tellings of Biblical stories (After Abel and Other Stories, by Michal Lemberger), to a personal spiritual reflection by NBC's David Gregory (How's Your Faith? An Unlikely Spiritual Journey).

Image Credit: The Daily Beast

Image Credit: The Daily Beast

The Daily Beast's "Secret Yom Kippur Reading List" tells you what books to sneak into services and read if you become bored by the rabbi's sermon! Featuring authors well-known for their connections to cultural Judaism (like Philip Roth and Franz Kafka) alongside books that challenge the value of religion and the proposition of God (Christopher Hitchens's God is Not Great), this list is diverse and deeply intellectual in its orientation.

Image Credit: Amazon.com

Image Credit: Amazon.com

Jewcy, a project of Tablet Magazine, provides another list of books for the High Holidays in its "Days of Awe(some) Books" featuring works of both fiction and non-fiction. It will appeal especially to those with a taste for the classics, as it includes well-known works like The Brothers Karamazov, Virginia Woolf's To The Lighthouse, poetry by Emily Dickinson and Yehuda Amichai, and a variety of other thought-provoking options.


Putting the Graphic in Graphic Novel

Douglas Rushkoff's graphic novel, Testament, can be purchased on Amazon or on Comixology at this link (you'll be able to view it immediately -- it doesn't need to be shipped to you) for $9.99. The comic simultaneously locates itself in the ancient past (specifically the book of Genesis) and in the future. The first part, also available by itself for $2.99, is called "Akedah" and is thematically based on the binding of Isaac.

Rushkoff's Nothing Sacred: The Truth About Judaism also makes for interesting High Holiday reading.


Get Your "Forgiver's License"

Check out this article on an organization (called The Center for Supportive Bureaucracy) that creates "Forgiver's Licenses" for people to use during the High Holidays! The license itself can be found directly below.

 
Image Credit: SupportiveBureaucracy.org

Image Credit: SupportiveBureaucracy.org

 

Rosh Hajuana? Apples and Honey...With a Special Ingredient

 
Image Credit: ShalomDCH.org

Image Credit: ShalomDCH.org

 

This article, from the stealthily-named MerryJane.com, describes ways that cannabis can be incorporated into Rosh Hashanah. If living in Washington or Colorado, it could be a particularly helpful article to read!


To Go or Not To Go (To Synagogue) -- That is the Question

A number of writers have recently chimed in on their own experiences with services on Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. The first three articles below offer different takes on the question of whether to attend services at all, and the final two are personal reflections on the nature of the High Holiday service experience.

Image Credit: Haaretz.com

Image Credit: Haaretz.com


Electoral Politics at Temple

 
Image Credit: Lior Zaltzman

Image Credit: Lior Zaltzman

 

This piece in The Times of Israel looks at the contentious issue of politics in synagogue. Are synagogues the wrong place to bring up divisive political topics? On the other hand, does the nature of Judaism necessitate the exploration of political topics in religious spaces, at momentous times of the calendar year?


The High Holidays Through an Interfaith Lens

Image Credit: Gosanangelo.com

Image Credit: Gosanangelo.com

InterfaithFamily.com provides three essays on this page, regarding the experience of interfaith families in synagogue settings on the high holidays. They are entitled "Understanding the High Holy Days," "Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, and the Non-Jewish Partner," and "Grandparenting for the High Holidays."


No Such Thing as Rosh Hashanah? Karaite Perspectives on the 1st Day of Tishri

 
Image Credit: Times of Israel Blogs

Image Credit: Times of Israel Blogs

 

Karaite Jews, a small group in contemporary Jewish life but historically an important force, do not call the 1st Day of Tishri "Rosh Hashanah." They refer to it as "Yom Teruah," the Torah's name for this day. Furthermore, they don't consider it to be a new year at all (they hold that the Jewish calendar's new year takes place on the 1st of Nisan, six months earlier in the year). Learn more about Karaite perspectives on the High Holidays through the two articles below.

"A Shofar-less Rosh Hashanah: A Karaite's Experience of Yom Teru'ah" - Shawn Lichaa

"The Jews You've Never Heard Of" - Shira Telushkin