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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
Whether you are a Jew-from-birth who wants to deepen your experience of the High Holy Days or a convert going through the Days of Awe for the first time, or a interested bystander who wants to know more of what the holiest days of the year are all about, Reuven Hammer's Entering the High Holy Days is an excellent resource.

The author covers the history and development of the rituals and services of Rosh Hashannah, Yom Kippur and the days between (known as the Days of Awe) as well as customs such as the foods eaten (or not eaten, in the case of Yom Kippur), taschlich, and kaporot. Particularly useful is the indepth guide to the services themselves. Although I was attending my first High Holy Day services at a Reform synagogue, whose siddur doesn't include everything that the Conservative, Orthodox and REconstructionist services do (and thus doesn't include everything mentioned in this book), I still learned a lot and could recognize the steps and overall sections and structures of the services. The background information on the various Torah readings and Haftorah readings added more depth to those portions of the services. Best of all, however, is the knowledge that allows one to act in preparation for the holiest holidays of the year and to enter them feeling more prepared and more knowledgeable than ever before. Whether your first experience or your 50th, you will get something from this book. Highly recommended.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on December 9, 2005
Now in a new paperback edition, Entering The High Holy Days: A Complete Guide To The History, Prayers, And Themes is a classic guide to Jewish religious holidays. Written by Reuven Hammer, head of the Rabbinical Court of the Masorti Movement, Entering The High Holy Days has earned the National Jewish Book Award for its scholarly yet straightforward presentation of the liturgy, necessary preparations, ceremonies, historical background and more as connected to Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur especially. A useful guide written with a contemporary audience firmly in mind.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on September 12, 2009
As a Jew-by-Choice, I wanted to understand the origin of the High Holy Days and become familiar with the meaning of the prayers/psalms that are recited on these significant days. This book, while by no means an in-depth study, fulfilled that purpose. The sources are well cited, although they tend to be redundant. Overall, I was pleased with the book and would recommend it to anyone seeking to better understand the background of the most significant days of the Jewish calendar.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on October 26, 2005
This is an excellent book explaining the context of the High Holidays. The thinking worshiper will certainly benefit from reading and studying this small volume. It should be read with machzor in hand and deserves serious contemplation.
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on June 27, 2015
This is a great book and refresher to read before the High Holidays approach. It gives great explanations on the service and prayers involved.
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on August 24, 2015
Interesting and an easy read
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on October 9, 2007
I brought this book with me to High Holyday services this year and used it as a reference. I really enjoyed it. It is particularly interesting when it explains the origins of the various prayers
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