categoryMenu_new
 
  Home
  EXTRAORDINARY AH Teaching from Spiritual Hierarchy
  AbundantHope
  NEW READERS! Read Here First
  Supporting AH
  Leadership of AbundantHope
  Announcements
  Regional AH Sites
  Other Sites with AH material
  Contact Us
  Becoming A Messiah
  OUR PUBLIC FORUM IS OPEN TOO ALL
  Mission Ideas
  System Busting
  Cleric Letter/English
  Translations of Cleric Letter
  AH Member Writings
  Candace
  Ron
  Rosie
  Jess
  Brian's Poetry
  James
  Giuseppe
  John Taylor
  Esteban
  Telepathic Messages
  Candace
  Jess Anthony
  Vince
  Leonette
  John
  Adam
  Bela
  Joyce
  Hazel
  Kibo
  Peter
  Rosie
  Johan
  Lucia
  Lucia G
  Rubens
  Shellee-Kim
  Ben
  Dorothea
  Solon
  Others
  Targeted Messages
  Hano
  Light Flower
  Changing The Face Of Religion
  - Phoenix Journals - PDF in German
  Candace on Religion
  Other Spiritual Pieces
  Spiritual Nuggets by the Masters
  Phoenix Journals
  Phoenix Journals - PDF
  Telepathic Messages PDF books
  Selections from the Urantia Book
  CMGSN Pieces
  THE WAVE
  David Crayford and the ITC
  Environment/Science
  Health and Nutrition
  Podcasts, Radio Shows, Video by AH
 
  Political Information
  True US History
  Human/Animal Rights
  The Miracle That Is Me
  Education
  Resources
  911 Material
  Books - eBooks
  government email/phone #'s
  Self Reliance
  Video
  Websites
  Alternative News Sources
  Art and Music
  Foreign Sites
  Health and Healing
  Human/Animal Rights
  Scientific
  Spiritual
  Vegan Recipes
  Translated Material
  Dutch
  Gekanaliseerde berichten Jess
  Gekanaliseerde berichten Candace
  Gekanaliseerde berichten Anderen
  Artikelen/berichten
  French
  Canal Jess
  Par Candace
  Other Channels
  Articles
  German
  Telepathische Nachrichten (Candace)
  Telepathische Nachrichten (Jess)
  Telepathische Nachrichten (div.)
  AH Mitgliederbeiträge (Candace)
  AH Mitgliederbeiträge (Jess)
  Spirituelle Schätze
  Italian
  Translations - Candace
  Translations - Jess
  Translations - Others
  Portuguese
  by Candace
  By Jess
  By Others
  Spanish
  Anfitriones Divinos
  Bitácoras Fénix
  Creadores-de-Alas (WingMakers/Lyricus)
  Escritos de Candace
  Escritos de Otros
  Monjoronsón
  Telemensajes de Candace
  Telemensajes de Jess Anthony
  Telemensajes de Otros
  Chinese
  By Candace
  By Jess
  By Others
  Korean Translations
  Hungarian Translations
  Swedish Translations

Search

Political Information Last Updated: Jan 15, 2018 - 6:46:38 AM


Tough to Put the Kibosh on Kol Nidre
By Jenna Weissman Joselit
Oct 10, 2011 - 5:26:06 AM

Email this article
 Printer friendly page Share/Bookmark

Tough to Put the Kibosh on Kol Nidre

Wonders of America

By Jenna Weissman Joselit

Published October 07, 2011, issue of October 14, 2011.

If American Jewish popular culture is any indication, Kol Nidre is the one prayer American Jews happen to know well. Over the years, they’ve encountered it on long-playing records, like those produced by the Victor Talking Machine Company in the 1920s, and at the movies, where the cinematic plot hinged on whether the not-so-loyal son of a cantor would do his father proud by chanting “Kol Nidre” instead of “Swanee.” I’m referring, of course, to evergreen productions of “The Jazz Singer.”

Jazz Man: Al Jolson knew he had to sing Kol Nidre during the Days of Awe.
getty images
Jazz Man: Al Jolson knew he had to sing Kol Nidre during the Days of Awe.

Even such American songbirds as Perry Como and Johnny Mathis found the doleful sounds of Kol Nidre hard to resist. Como crooned his way through the Aramaic text, while Mathis’s version appeared alongside “Ave Maria” in his 1958 album, “Good Night, Dear Lord.”

While thousands thrilled to its lugubrious cadences, others, like Rabbi Mordecai M. Kaplan, that self-styled Don Quixote of the American Jewish world, chafed under its weight. Congregants at the Society for the Advancement of Judaism, which Kaplan formed in the early 1920s, looked forward with keen anticipation to hearing the cantor recite Kol Nidre. But their young and impatient rabbi had other plans: He sought to do away with the prayer altogether, dismissing it as “unspiritual,” ill-suited to the solemnity of Yom Kippur.

What troubled Kaplan was not the prayer’s music, which he liked, but its meaning, which he did not. Kol Nidre’s focus on the abrogation of one’s vows seemed to him to conflict mightily with, and even undermine, the holiness of the day. To him, it spoke of contracts instead of kedushah, sanctity. Worse still, Kaplan feared that American Jews would misunderstand — and misapply — the prayer’s tenets to encompass ordinary business dealings rather than one’s relationship to God.

He was right to worry. Confiding in his diary, Kaplan recounted with disdain how several of his congregants confessed that they resorted to Kol Nidre to absolve them of their financial responsibilities and charitable pledges. A “text that was capable of being so interpreted as to condone delinquencies ought not be tolerated as a part of the ritual,” he said, fuming.

Equally troubling was the way in which America Jews enveloped Kol Nidre in an excess of sentimentality, another one of Kaplan’s bêtes noires. Sounding a familiar refrain — that of American Jewry’s cultural illiteracy and penchant for sappiness at the expense of substance — Kaplan insisted that “the reason [Kol Nidre] is permitted to occupy so important a place is that the people have no idea of what it is about. The pious emotions that it evokes, if it does that at all, have nothing to do with its contents.”

Despite his noble intentions, the rabbi’s plans to abolish the recitation of Kol Nidre didn’t sit well with his congregants, many of whom had forsaken Orthodox Judaism only recently, for the promise of a “reconstructed” religious experience. Old habits die hard. SAJ-ites, as Kaplan called the members of his flock, missed Kol Nidre: Yom Kippur seemed incomplete, halfhearted, without it.

All the same, Kaplan dug in his heels, eager to abolish once and for all what he called the “senseless sentimentalism” of traditional Jewish life. When duly informed by some of his congregants that he had stirred up a veritable hornet’s nest, the clergyman blew up: “Is Jewish life so poverty stricken that a measly practice like [this] deserves having a fuss made over it! I am simply flabbergasted.”

But the power of tradition proved even stronger than Kaplan’s dismay. In 1927 he reluctantly bowed to the will of the people and came up with a compromise he could abide: SAJ would substitute Psalm 130 for Kol Nidre while chanting the words of the Psalmist to the traditional melody. What’s more, those congregants who persisted in wanting to recite the prayer could do so silently — sotto voce, as Kaplan would have it — but only after the conclusion of the recitation of Psalm 130.

In the years that followed, SAJ’s rabbi did a complete about-face and reinstated Kol Nidre, but not before amending its text and inserting a qualifying phrase here and there (“These are our vows, and these only”) to render it more in line with his sensibility.

Kaplan’s biographer, Mel Scult, suggests that an exchange with Judah David Eisenstein, who was the grandfather of his son-in-law and close associate, Ira Eisenstein, persuaded him to retain the prayer. Learned and deeply steeped in tradition, as well as one of the few people whom Kaplan truly respected, David Eisenstein allowed that Kol Nidre was not an exercise in legalism but a statement of profound religiosity, one that “made the road clear for forgiveness and good will.” Kaplan was persuaded of the merits of Eisenstein’s reading, or so it seems, and reintroduced Kol Nidre to SAJ, where it has remained a part of the liturgy.

One can’t help but wonder, though, whether Kaplan’s mother ought to be credited with changing her son’s mind. Without mincing words, she accused him of undermining the faith with his farfetched ideas about the Yom Kippur liturgy, among other things: “You are destroying Judaism. Do you understand what you are doing to yourself? I will not tell you what you are doing to me and maybe to your father in his grave…. I am too weak now I cannot write more. Be well and happy with your family. Your mother.”

In life, as in the movies, the exercise of filial duty may have saved the day and, with it, Kol Nidre.


RELATED ARTICLES:






All writings by members of AbundantHope are copyrighted by
©2005-2018 AbundantHope - All rights reserved

Detailed explanation of AbundantHope's Copyrights are found here


Top of Page

Political Information
Latest Headlines
Germany Migrant Crisis Delusions
Research Shows Google’s Search Manipulations Tried To Rig Election For Hillary
Disinformation and Censorship Creating a New World Order
Thousands of Germans of various faiths don Jewish skullcaps to fight anti-Semitism
The primary importance of slaughtered offerings in Judaism
And they shall contemplate the kindness of Hashem’
Top Medical Journals Accused of Skewing Research by Raking in Millions of Dollars in 'Bribes' from Drugs Firms
The News That Russia Won’t Intervene In Armenia Is An Infowar In And Of Itself
Syrian Children Should be Seen, Not Heard
Toronto Van "Attack"- Facebook's Role in Fake News Media Distribution
Facebook Teams Up With Shady DARPA Exec' to Scan Tour Brain & Augment Your Reality
‘Unacceptable’: UK 40th for Global Press Freedom Thanks to ‘Heavy-Handed’ Tories
Truth Tellers Dilemma Pt 1
Media Insiders Tell Me: They’re Sick of Pushing Fake News
UN: Islamic State ‘Partnering With Extremists in Africa to Push Millions More Migrants to Europe’
German Anti-Semitism Chief Tells Jews: Your Fears over Influx of Muslim, Arab Refugees Legitimate
Russia Warns Only 18 Days Left Until Apocalypse Begins As It Stunningly Budgets $162 Billion For Postwar Reconstruction
Russia Slams News Network MSNBC For Being “Place Where Journalism Goes To Die” After Putin Made A Target In Joy Reid Scandal
'Rothschild Sponsored' Macron: 'We Must Remove Assad And Rebuild Syria'
Russia warns of ‘catastrophic’ result if Israel hits its S-300s in Syria