I. Afternoon Service (Minḥa): Organ Prelude no. 4 (Ernest Bloch) 02:39
I. Afternoon Service (Minḥa): Mi yit'neni (Jerome Kopmar) 5:00
I. Afternoon Service (Minḥa): Alenu; Va'anaḥnu (Samuel Adler) 02:05
I. Afternoon Service (Minḥa): Ohiloa la'el (Michael Horvit) 01:48
I. Afternoon Service (Minḥa): Ana adonai (Seder avoda, Reform version, Abraham Wolf Binder) 02:38
I. Afternoon Service (Minḥa): Barukh shem (Seder avoda, Reform version, Abraham Wolf Binder) 00:22
I. Afternoon Service (Minḥa): Yimlokh adonai (Seder avoda, Reform version, Abraham Wolf Binder) 00:57
II. Memorial Service (Yizkor): Yizkor Prelude (Michael Isaacson) 05:04
II. Memorial Service (Yizkor): Enosh (Michael Isaacson) 04:15
II. Memorial Service (Yizkor): Shiviti (Michael Isaacson) 02:35
II. Memorial Service (Yizkor): I Have Taken an Oath (Michael Horvit) 02:53
II. Memorial Service (Yizkor): Silence (Michael Horvit) 02:35
II. Memorial Service (Yizkor): Is Not a Flower a Mystery? (Michael Horvit) 03:49
II. Memorial Service (Yizkor): The 23rd Psalm (Heinrich Schalit) 01:42
II. Memorial Service (Yizkor): In Memoriam (Robert Starer) 01:20
II. Memorial Service (Yizkor): El male raḥamim (Hugo Chaim Adler) 03:03
III. Concluding Service (N'ila): Adon has'sliḥot (Haim Elisha) 03:12
III. Concluding Service (N'ila): Ḥatzi kaddish (Samuel Adler) 02:16
III. Concluding Service (N'ila): El nora alila (Simon Sargon) 02:56
III. Concluding Service (N'ila): P'taḥ lanu sha'ar (Herbert Fromm) 01:08
III. Concluding Service (N'ila): Concluding Benedictions - Adonai yishma (Samuel Adler) 02:02

Liner Notes

Recital of the yizkor (memorial; lit., “May God remember”) service in memory of parents, siblings, and spouses is considered mandatory in orthodoxy and by tradition in general. It can also be recited (and, according to some rulings or opinions, is meritorious to do so) in memory of other relatives, friends, Jewish martyrs (including but not limited to those of the Holocaust), and, collectively, even in memory of all the departed among the people Israel. (The twin notion that recital of, or even attendance at, yizkor must be confined to immediate family members, and that those with living parents must exit the synagogue during the service, has been enshrined mistakenly as sacred custom if not requirement in some circles. This is now acknowledged even among orthodoxy to be a misguided myth grounded in superstition.) 

The yizkor service is held not only on Yom Kippur but also on the last days of each of the Three Festivals. Some hypotheses and rabbinic opinions, however, accord it additional significance in relation to Yom Kippur, on the grounds that it was originally connected solely to Yom Kippur (and only later—as late as the 18th century—added to the Festivals) as a further inducement for repentance and as a procedure for seeking atonement retroactively on behalf of the dead. In turn, some have based this specific Yom Kippur connection on an apocryphal reference to making atonement on behalf of the dead to free them as well as the living from transgressions in life. This supposition has also been derived from the use of the plural, kippurim (atonements), suggesting both living and dead. But these ideas are not specifically reflected in the yizkor liturgy.

In practical terms today, outside orthodoxy, the Yom Kippur yizkor service is attended in greater numbers—and with far greater perceived importance attached to it—than the same service (and the same degree of requirement) on the Festivals, largely for two reasons: its perceived centrality to Yom Kippur and the simple fact that synagogue attendance on the High Holydays (especially Yom Kippur) far exceeds that of the Festivals. Then, too, there is the purely emotional factor at play among nonreligious and, by choice, unaffiliated individuals who associate yizkor and its obligation only with Yom Kippur.

In the traditional liturgical order, yizkor occurs not following the afternoon service (minḥa) of Yom Kippur and the last days of Festivals, but within the morning service. It follows the Torah and Haftara readings but precedes the return of the scrolls to the ark and the ensuing musaf—thereby in effect punctuating the Torah service.

Traditional Yom Kippur services last virtually the entire day, viz., from sundown to sundown (the Judaic definition of a calendar day) in progression from one service to the next: the evening service, preceded by the recitation (or commencement of recitation) of kol nidre just prior to sundown; the preliminary service early the next morning (birkhot hashaḥar and p’sukei d’zimra); the morning service (shaḥarit, opening with hamelekh yoshev al kise ram v’nisa / “You are the King enthroned on high and in majesty”); the Torah service (kriat hatora); the memorial service (yizkor), followed by the conclusion of the Torah service; musaf (which includes seder avoda, the recollection of the service of the high priest in the Temple ritual for Yom Kippur); the afternoon service (minḥa), including its Torah service; and the concluding service (n’ila).

In principle, the time between the end of the evening service and the beginning of prayers the next morning (to which no time restraints need apply, and which might conclude fairly late, as apart from reading or Judaic study, the only activity that can be pursued afterward is sleeping—i.e., literally sleeping) amounts to a de facto extended break for necessary physical rejuvenation. The early-morning preliminary service is then a resumption of the interrupted but otherwise continuous full Day of Atonement and its prayers.

In some congregations a brief break may occur between musaf and minḥa as a “breather” only if the musaf service has been completed (by design or not) with ample time to spare before commencing minḥa—and with adequate time for the ensuing n’ila service. Whether or not there might be an additional address or comments by the rabbi or others between minḥa and n’ila can also be a deciding factor. In fact, care must be taken not to be left with too much time after minḥa and not to begin n’ila too early lest it conclude prematurely before sundown. In that case the congregation would have to be kept waiting until the final multiple pronouncements of God’s uniqueness and identity leading to the final shofar blast of the High Holy days—signifying the official end of Yom Kippur; the “new leaf” and newly renewed lease for the new year; the presumed assurance (particularly in Hassidic circles) that the prayers have been heard and atonement has been granted; and the permission to proceed with breaking the twenty-four-hour fast. In any case, although appropriate socializing is not necessarily out of order for those congregations that do allow for a pre-minḥa break (in orthodox circles at one time it even became an opportunity for matchmaking—harking back to the custom in the ancient Temple whereby, in the jubilation following the High Priest’s proclamation of forgiveness, betrothals were announced), that time slot might be used by some worshippers for continued meditation or perusal of Judaic texts.

In Reform practice, however, extracts and derivations from the preliminary shaḥarit, and musaf liturgies for Yom Kippur are merged into a single, greatly condensed morning service. This service can be over as early as noon (a traditional Yom Kippur musaf could end as late as three o’clock or even later, depending on when this holiest of days occurs on the Western calendar) or even well before then if it begins as early as nine o’clock. Also, there are congregations that are too large to be accommodated in the sanctuary space on the High Holydays, when attendance can be expected to approach one hundred percent of the membership. In those synagogues whose procedure it is—instead of (or in addition to) simultaneous “overflow services” conducted at a second venue—to hold two identical successive morning services, roughly half the entire congregation will have completed the morning service as early as ten thirty or eleven o’clock. 

The architects of Reform astutely recognized early on the reality that many if not most people would tend not to return several hours later for minḥa and n’ila. They therefore removed yizkor from the morning service altogether and repositioned it between minḥa and n’ila, correctly reasoning that the emotional magnet of yizkor—especially for those having lost an immediate family member—would mediate against that attrition. Because these three services would be relatively brief and would flow seamlessly from one to the next almost as a tripartite single service, there was no concern that anyone would plan to arrive only in time for yizkor and exit immediately thereafter without remaining for n’ila. Moreover, the established etiquette of Reform, which from its founding has prized decorum (even if, in some congregations, the degree of formality has become a bit relaxed), would preclude the flow of ingress-egress typical in orthodox and other traditional synagogues—especially throughout the long day of services on Yom Kippur. 

These three Yom Kippur services follow the Reform prayerbook that, by the turn of the 20th century, had gained wide acceptance: Sha’arei t’shuvaGates of Repentance: The New Union Prayerbook for the Days of Awe (1978; revised 1996). Like its predecessor, the Union Prayerbook, it was published by the Central Conference of American Rabbis, the rabbinical arm of the Reform movement in America. This was not, however, merely another revision of the Union Prayerbook, but an entirely new undertaking that followed the CCAR’s two new (1975 and 1977) prayerbooks for Sabbaths, Festivals, and other liturgical occasions as well as home ceremonies. The committee that fashioned and oversaw the composition of Gates of Repentance summarized the principles that had governed its creation of this new liturgy as a “our sense of continuity with Jewish tradition, our desire to combine the old with the new, our appreciation of the diversity of thought and feeling within the Jewish people in general and the Reform movement in particular, and our need to confront the circumstances in which we find ourselves.” Gates of Repentance was intended to replace the Union Prayerbook II (i..e, the volume for the High Holydays) altogether, though there are still some Reform congregations that prefer the latter. 

The trend in musical tastes and preferences within the Reform movement in the post-1970s era—followed more in some congregations and less in others—has been toward more relaxed, more easygoing, more folk-infused, and less formal styles than those that reigned during the first two or three decades of the postwar period. But for the awe-tinged High Holydays, many congregations that embrace (exclusively in some cases) that vogue as the norm for Sabbath and other services throughout the year—including those enamored of communal singing as their primary expression—preserve some of the more established classical-oriented settings in a balanced format alongside more recent, less rigorous pieces. The desiderata of that kind of balance guided the selection of music for this recording.

By: Neil W. Levin



Sung in Hebrew and English



O that I might be
A servant unto Thee,
Thou God by all adored
Then, though by friends outcast,
Thy hand would hold me fast.
And draw me near to Thee, my hope restored.

Spirit and flesh are Thine,
O heavenly Shephard mine;
My hopes, my thoughts, my fears, Thou seest all,
Thou measurest my path, my steps dost know.
When Thou upholdest, who can make me fall?
When Thou restrainest, who can bid me go?


Let us adore the ever-living God!
We render praise unto You,
Who spread out the heavens
and established the earth.
whose glory is revealed in the heavens above,
and whose greatness is manifest throughout the world.
You are our God; there is none else.

We bow in awe and reverence before the One
who is Sovereign over all, the Holy and Blessed One.


I wait for God, I seek God's presence, hoping for an answer to prayer. In the midst of the people, O God, I extol Your might and celebrate
Your deeds in joyful song

We must purify our hearts, and the Eternal one will answer our prayer.

Eternal God, open my lips, and my mouth shall declare Your glory. May the words of my mouth, and the meditations of my heart, be acceptable to You, O God, my Rock and my Redeemer.

SEDER AVODA (Reform version)

Ana adonai

Eternal God, pardon the sins, iniquities, and transgressions that we, Your people, the House of Israel, have committed before You; as it has been said: "On this day atonement shall be made for you, to purify you; you shall be cleansed from all your sins before your God."

Barukh shem k'vod

Blessed is God's glorious majesty, forever and ever!


The Eternal One shall reign for ever; your God, O Zion



Our days are like grass.
We shoot up like flowers that fade
and die as the chill wind passes
over them, Yet Your love for those
who revere You is everlasting.
Your righteousness extends to all generations.

SHIVITI (Psalm 116)

I have set the Eternal always before me:
God is at my side, I shall not be moved.
Therefore does my heart exult and my soul rejoice:
my being is secure. For You will not abandon me to death
nor let Your faithful ones see destruction.
You show me the path of life; Your presence brings fullness of joy; enduring happiness is Your gift.


I have taken an oath: to remember it all.
To remember -- to forget nothing at all.
Forgetting nothing of this,
Till the tenth generation,
Till the grief disappears,
To the last, to its ending.
Till the punishing blows are ended for good.
I swear this night of terror
Shall not have passed in vain;
I swear this morning I'll not live unchanged,
As if I were no wiser even now, even now.


Is not a flower a mystery no flower can explain? Is not God the growing, the pattern which has no end and is never quite the same? Is not God in the heart that sees it and weeps for beauty? Why, then, God, this mystery: that the bombs fall and the sprays kill and the flames rise and the children go up in smoke? Why is there still a flower to remind us of You? Why does the sun still burn to give us life? How do we still turn to you? Why cannot we help but turn to You, but why, why do we turn to You so late?


Eternal God, You are my shephard, I shall not want. You make me lie down in green pastures. You lead me beside still waters. You restore my soul. You lead me in the right paths for the sake of Your name. Even when I walk in the valley of the shadow of death. I shall fear no evil, for You are with me; with rod and staff You comfort me. You have set a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You have annointed my head with oil, my cup overflows. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Eternal God for ever.


O god full of compassion, Eternal Spirit of the universe, grant perfect rest under the wings of Your presence to our loved ones who have entered eternity. Source of Mercy, let them find refuge for ever in the shadow of Your wings, and let their souls be bound up in the bond of eternal life.
The eternal God is their inheritence.
May they rest in peace, and let us say: Amen.


ḤATZI KADDISH (Reader's Kaddish)

Let the glory of God be extolled, let God's great name be hallowed in the world whose creation God willed. May God's rule soon prevail, in our own day, our own lives, and the life of all Israel, and let us say: Amen.

Let God's great name be blessed for ever and ever. Let the name of the Holy One, the Blessed One, be glorified, exalted, and honored, though God is beyond all the praises, songs, and adorations that we can utter, and let us say: Amen.


God of awesome deeds, grant us pardon as the gates begin to close.
God, we stand in awe before Your deeds.

We who are few in number look up to You; with trembling we praise You, as the gates begin to close.
God of awesome deeds....

Remember the merits of our mothers and fathers; renew in us their spirit and faith, as the gates begin to close.

Proclaim a year of favor; return the remnant of Your flock to honor and glory, as the gates begin to close.


Open the gates for us, even now, even now, when the gates are closing, and the day begins to fade. Oh, the day is fading, the sun is setting; let us enter Your gates!


May the Eternal One bless your going out and your coming in from this time forth and for ever.







Composer: Various
Length: 49:19
Genre: Liturgical

Performers: Barbara Harbach, Organ;  Samuel Adler, Conductor;  Ida Rae Cahana, Cantor;  Aaron Miller, Organist;  New York Cantorial Choir;  Perry Fine, Cantor

Date Recorded: 01/01/1999
Venue: Riverside Church (D), New York, New York
Engineer: Lazarus, Tom
Assistant Engineer: Frost, David
Project Manager: Lee, Richard

Additional Credits:

Publisher: Transcontinental


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