What is Selichot?

The beginning of the High Holy Days season is marked by the observance of Selichot.  Selichot is held on the Saturday night preceding Rosh Hashanah.  Traditionally, if Rosh Hashanah starts the following Monday or Tuesday, then Selichot is observed the preceding Saturday so that there are at least three days between Selichot and Rosh Hashanah.  This service is designed to help worshippers direct their hearts and minds to the process of teshuvah, meaning "return", as in, turning away from sin. A fundamental part of the Selichot service is the recitation of the "Thirteen Attributes" of God's mercy that were revealed to Moses after the sin of the golden calf (Exodus 34:6-7).  The service is quite moving, as we search introspectively within ourselves and recite pleas for mercy.  The melodies for the Selichot service are evocative, while offering hope for change and a better life. 

Temple Emanu-El traditionally observes Selichot by showing a thought-provoking film followed by a discussion with the rabbis, and ending the evening with the Selichot service, enhanced by music from the High Holy Day Choir. For more information about Selichot programming for 2015, click here.

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*Tishah B'av: A Brief History

in Jewish Holidays
Tishah B'Av means "Ninth of Av" and refers to a Jewish day of fasting and mourning. Excerpted from The Jewish Home by Daniel B. Syme. URJ Press Traditionally Tishah B'Av is the darkest of all days, a time set aside for mourning the destruction of both ancient…