New 2010 Conservative Mahzor - Lev Shalem - for Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur

An attractive and highly creative new Mahzor Lev Shalem (the prayer book for the High Holidays) is out this year.

Judaica House in Teaneck tells us that it is the big best seller of the season.

You can print these preview pages and use it in good health.
• Kol Nidrei/Evening Service for Yom Kippur

• Malkhuyot-Zikhronot-Shofarot for Rosh Hashanah


Mr said...

Just got it - big improvement over prior machzor. Still needs work - only 70 shofar blasts, some blessings missing, no shacharit amidah (must turn to maariv).
Terrific English, great insights, easy to see Shabbat additions.
Overall, a mixed bag.

Theophrastus said...

I got it based on your recommendation from my local Judaica shop. It was a stunningly designed machzor, but I can't daven out of this -- it simply isn't halachically up to snuff.

Besides, I really prefer the Soloveitchik machzorim which at least have a definite point of view and some deep content. Do you daven out of the Soloveitchik machzorim?

tzvee said...

Yes, I did this year use the Solo machzor for RH and plan to use the YK volume as well. The notes and essays are terrific, well written and coherent. The text is Artscroll tho and that's a negative. I'll have extensive critiques and recommendations next year, after I teach the HH liturgy in a course.

Theophrastus said...

I look forward to your comments.

For me, the reason is simpler: I frankly have trouble maintaining concentration sometimes when davening on Yomim Nora'im -- especially with the extended repetition of prayers. I need something to inspire me. The machzor you review, Lev Shalem, includes little "readings and meditations" on the far left of most double pages, and those are great, but they are also a bit like those "though of the day" calendars -- they are brief and sometimes cliched or shallow. (It fares somewhat better on the far right column, where the text features a "running commentary" on the prayer itself, but it still isn't enough for me.

I'm only aware of two machzorim sets that are seriously annotated (in English, at least): the Artscroll and the Soloveitchik. The Artscroll's annotation has its own issues -- and probably most of your readers have read enough of the Artscroll siddurim and machzorim to form their own opinions. In contrast, the Soloveitchik is -- to me at least -- very interesting and engaging and helps me both learn and regain my kavannah. Sure, it is not as much fun as reading the Rav's On Repentance -- but on the other hand, the Soloveitchik machzorim contain considerable material that goes beyond the shiurim in that book.

I didn't have a chance to daven kinnos this year with the new Koret/Soloveitchik volume, but I've looked it over and it looks wonderful. (I would say that I plan to daven with it in 5711, but I am praying that the Temple will be rebuilt first.) Tisha B'av is a very difficult holiday for me, because with study options so limited, it is often very hard for me to develop the right level of emotion and empathy. (To put it crudely, it is hard for me to mourn when I am bored.) I hope the new kinnos will help out there too.

In any case, the new Conservative machzor is one of the best non-Orthodox liturgical publications I can recall seeing, despite its shortcomings. It ranks right up there with the Hertz Chumash (which I like very much) and Lawrence Hoffman's My People's Prayer Book (another highlight of popular liberal Jewish scholarship -- did you see his new book on Un'taneh Tokef)?

Raphael said...

Many good things like better translations, comments on the prayers. It's nice to see new Piyyutim that we haven't seen before but they got rid of too many of the traditional Ashkenazi piyyutim.