Oh, so that is what I've been missing. Fascinating.
I went to Chabad for Yom Kippur. This was my first Orthodox Yom Kippur. (For that matter, this was my first non-Reform Yom Kippur.) I found it engaging and meaningful, though sometimes repetitive -- repetitions of the Amidah and Musaf besides can add up. On the other hand, since I am a slower reader than the leaders, it gave me a chance to read everything at least once, usually more than once.
The Kol Nidrei service (for the evening that starts Yom Kippur) seemed pretty familiar. Afterwards I paged through the Reform machzor that I borrowed, and if you cut out all the creative modern readings and such, the core is all there. (That surprised me; I expected the publishers to have taken more liberties.)
This was not true of the daytime services, though. Some differences I knew, of course: the Reform movement replaced the Avodah service (about the high priest's service in the temple on this day), they changed the torah reading, they shorten the confession (Al Cheit) and Avinu Malkeinu, they don't do the ten martyrs, and Reform never does the extra Musaf service. Other differences I didn't know about in advance, and I'd like to get a traditional machzor to study it more. (It felt like there was more to the sanctification of the day in the middle of the Amidah, for one thing.)
So, about that Avodah service, recounting the high priest's offerings, the two goats (one for God and one for Azazel), the details of the ritual, the saying of the divine name out loud... On one hand I kind of expected this to turn me off (never really got my head wrapped around the temple service and the desire to return to it). On another hand, I had Ishay Ribo's song on my mind as another interpretation. And on yet another hand (who says there can be only two?), I entered the whole thing in a spirit of being open to new experiences and wanting to see where that took me.
I, uh, found that part meaningful. I felt the power of it. Read more…