Why Pray?

Rabbi Irving (Yitz) Greenberg

High Holiday Reader 5781

The High Holidays are often a time out of time, where we re-examine our relationship to God, ourselves, and our communities; we reflect on ways to make ourselves and these lines of connection stronger and more vibrant. Certainly, our current reality of social distancing challenges the traditional setting for this self-reflection: An individual, bolstered by community, standing before God. But these times also create opportunities for re-visioning—seeing things anew and growing in the process. In these pages, the Hadar faculty has tackled many theological, spiritual, and emotional questions that may arise this holiday season. In what ways must the individual rise to the occasion in the absence of community? What do we expect from God, demand from God, in our prayers this year? What creative avenues are available for conceptualizing community, when we don’t gather en masse? How do we foster celebration and joy in a time of loneliness and stress? You will find that though the Hadar faculty was quarantined in different pockets of New York, Washington, DC, and Israel while writing these pieces, a coherent, inter-connected network of ideas has emerged. We hope that you will feel strengthened by these articles and linked to the larger community as you read and enjoy this year’s High Holiday Reader.