Rabbis and Cantors Share What High Holiday Liturgy is Speaking to Them This Year

We asked six T’ruah chaverim (clergy) this question: As you prepare to lead High Holiday services this year, what’s one line that jumps out at you the most? 

Part of the beauty of Judaism is that we say the same words, retell the same stories, year after year, and each time they feel different. The words are the same, but we are not. Our world is not. And so the lines that move us this year may be totally different from what tugged at our hearts last year — or they may be the same lines resonating for completely new reasons.

Watch what these amazing justice leaders had to say about what’s on their minds this year:


Thank you so much to all the clergy who participated:

  • Cantor Kerith Spencer-Shapiro, University Synagogue, Los Angeles, Calif.
  • Cantor Vera Broekhuysen, Temple Emanu-El, Haverhill, Mass.
  • Cantor Vicky Glikin, Temple Emanu-El, Dallas, Tex.
  • Rabbi Atara Cohen, Congregation Beit Simchat Torah, New York, NY
  • Rabbi Benjamin Barnett, Havurah Shalom, Portland, Ore.
  • Rabbi Mira Rivera, Romemu, New York, NY

Find more commentaries for Rosh Hashanah.

And as you move through the High Holidays, notice where you feel pulled, moved, or prodded. How will these sacred words reverberate in your ear and heart when the holidays are over? How will that echo guide you through the year 5781?

Produced by Shira Danan, with help from Bennett Decker and Rabbi Lev Meirowitz Nelson.

Photos: Rabbi Ariel Stone, Neta Hamami Tabib Dror, Arielle Danan, and Gili Getz.