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Entering the High Holy Days


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Entering the High Holy Days provides historical background and an interpretation of the ideas, practices, and the liturgy of Judaism’s High Holy Days, giving them contemporary relevance. This classic guide to the most important days of the Jewish year was a recipient of the 1998 National Jewish Book Award.

The High Holy Days’ have their foundations in the Old Testament/Hebrew Bible. Hence, their liturgies and rituals are rife with Scriptural allusions and influences. Their origins can be traced to the books of Leviticus, Isaiah, Job, Psalms and numerous other books throughout the Old Testament/Hebrew Bible. With Entering the High Holy Days, you can deepen your understanding of both the significance and the contemporary observance of these important parts of the Biblical narrative.

The High Holy Days – Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur – are for many Jews the highlight of the Jewish year. However, the liturgies for these “Days of Awe” are the longest and most complex of the High Holidays. This often leaves a large number of attendees without a complete understanding of the occasion's significance. Entering the High Holy Days remedies this by presenting in-depth explanations of the themes, prayers, and other elements of the services.

Resource Experts
  • The Days of Awe: Origins and Development
  • The Meaning of the Yamim Noraʾim
  • Beginning the Journey: Preparing for the High Holy Days
  • The Rosh Hashanah Liturgy I: Arvit and Shaḥarit
  • The Rosh Hashanah Liturgy II: From Musaf to Tashlikh
  • Opportunities for Change: The Ten Days of Penitence
  • The Yom Kippur Liturgy I: Kol Nidre
  • The Yom Kippur Liturgy II: Arvit
  • The Yom Kippur Liturgy III: Services of Yom Kippur Day
  • Biblical Readings for the Yamim Noraʾim
Hammer’s lucid commentary offers us a deeper understanding and appreciation of the service as a spiritual aid in the process of atonement.

Reform Judaism

[A] scholarly and eminently readable book, Entering the High Holy Days will help the reader come into the synagogue on Rosh Hashanah better equipped to leave it on Yom Kippur.

Philadelphia Inquirer

Rabbi Reuven Hammer's superb explanation of all aspects of the High Holy Days is one of the best resources available on the subject.


  • Title: Entering the High Holy Days: A Complete Guide to the History, Prayers and Themes
  • Author: Reuven Hammer
  • Publisher: Jewish Publication Society
  • Publication Date: 1998
  • Pages: 252

Rabbi Reuven Hammer (1933–2019) was the former director and dean of the Jerusalem branch of the Jewish Theological Seminary of America (JTS), 1974–92, where he served as a professor of Rabbinic literature. He held a Doctor of Humane Letters from JTS and a PhD from Northwestern University. He was also the founding director of the Seminary of Jewish Studies (1987–90). He is the author or editor of many books, including Entering the High Holy Days: A Complete Guide to the History, Prayers, and Themes (JPS, 2005) and Sifre: A Taanaitic Commentary on Deuteronomy, both National Jewish Book Award winners.


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  1. Christo Chaney
  2. Mark A. Daniel
  3. Dave Crosby

    Dave Crosby


    A Must Have.

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  6. Larry Proffitt

    Larry Proffitt




Digital list price: $15.99
Save $3.00 (18%)