Temple adopts groundbreaking prayer book

A new High Holy Days prayer book — which includes gender-neutral blessings and acknowledges same-sex marriages — will be presented at Temple B’nai Chaim on Wednesday, July 29, at 7:30 p.m. The general community is invited.
The presentation will be led by Rabbi Hara Person, senior editor of the Reform Movement’s new prayer book and publisher and director of the Central Conference of American Rabbis Press.
The new prayer book — Mishkan HaNefesh, which means Sanctuary of the Soul — includes updated translations, thoughtful essays, rich commentary, and a selection of poetry by authors such as Pablo Neruda, Langston Hughes and Henry David Thoreau integrated with traditional prayers.
There are for the first time gender-neutral blessings, and the word “couples” replaces the traditional “bride and groom” to acknowledge same-sex unions. The prayer book’s goal is to provide an environment for those of all backgrounds to find meaning in the High Holy Days, a press release from the temple said.
Temple B’nai Chaim was one of  300 congregations around the country that piloted the new prayer book, receiving an enthusiastic response.
“Mishkan HaNefesh is a beautiful, moving, and spiritual prayer book, and it will enrich our High Holy Day services for years to come,” said Rabbi Rachel Bearman, who recently completed her first year as Temple B’nai Chaim’s spiritual leader.
The Jewish High Holy Days — Rosh HaShanah (New Year), and Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement) — are the most sacred days of the Jewish calendar. While the New Year is a time for rejoicing, the entire period, which culminates in the Day of Atonement, is a period of deep personal reflection, individual repentance, and communal confession.
Temple B’Nai Chaim is at 82 Portland Avenue in Georgetown.
Information: 203-544-8695 or tbc@templebnaichaim.org or call (203) 544-8695.