Jewish services

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The services for the Days of Awe—Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur—take on a solemn tone as befits these days. Traditional solemn tunes are used in the prayers.

The musaf service on Rosh Hashana has nine blessings; the three middle blessings include biblical verses attesting to sovereignty, remembrance and the shofar, which is sounded 100 times during the service.

Yom Kippur is the only day in the year when there are five prayer services. The evening service, containing the Ma'ariv prayer, is widely known as "Kol Nidrei", the opening declaration made preceding the prayer. During the daytime, shacharit, musaf (which is recited on Shabbat and all festivals) and mincha are followed, as the sun begins to set, by Ne'ila, which is recited just this once a year.

Pesach, Shavuot and Sukkot

The services for the three festivals of Pesach ("Passover"), Shavuot ("Feast of Weeks" or "Pentecost"), and Sukkot ("Feast of Tabernacles") are alike, except for interpolated references and readings for each individual festival. The preliminaries and conclusions of the prayers are the same as on Shabbat. The Amidah on these festivals only contains seven benedictions, with Attah Bechartanu as the main one. Hallel (communal recitation of Psalms 113-118) follows.

The Musaf service includes Umi-Penei Hata'enu, with reference to the special festival and Temple sacrifices on the occasion. A blessing on the pulpit ("dukhen") is pronounced by the "kohanim" (Jewish priests) during the Amidah (this occurs daily in Israel and most Sephardic congregations, but only on Pesach, Shavuot, Sukkot, Rosh Hashanah, and Yom Kippur in Ashkenazic congregations of the diaspora). On week-days and Sabbath the priestly blessing is recited by the hazzan after the Modim ("Thanksgiving") prayer. (American Reform Jews omit the Musaf service.)

Missed prayer

In the event one of the prayers was missed inadvertedly, the Amidah prayer is said twice in the next service — a procedure known as tefillat tashlumin.[21]

Related customs

Many Jews sway their body back and forth during prayer. This practice (referred to as shoklen in Yiddish) is not mandatory, and in fact the kabbalist Isaac Luria felt that it should not be done. In contrast, the German Medieval authority Maharil (Rabbi Jacob Molin) linked the practice to a statement in the Talmud that the Mishnaic sage Rabbi Akiva would sway so forcefully that he ended up at the other side of the room when praying (Talmud tractate Berachot).

Money for tzedakah (roughly translated as "economic justice") is given during or immediately before the weekday morning and afternoon services in many communities.

Role of women

Men are obligated to perform public prayer three times a day with additional services on Jewish holidays. According to Jewish law, each prayer must be performed within specific time ranges, based on the time that the communal sacrifice the prayer is named after would have been performed in the days of the Temple in Jerusalem.

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