Temple B’nai Chaim presented its new High Holy Days prayer book, Mishkan HaNefesh — which means Sanctuary of the Soul — on Wednesday, July 29.
“This year, we introduce Mishkan HaNefesh to our High Holy Day — Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur — services,” Rabbi Rachel Bearman, who recently completed her first year as the Temple B’nai Chaim’s spiritual leader, told The Bulletin.
Bearman said the new prayer book will replace Mahzor Hadash: The New Mahzor, which the temple has used for many years.
Mishkan HaNefesh includes updated translations, thoughtful essays, rich commentary and a selection of poetry by authors like Pablo Neruda, Langston Hughes and Henry David Thoreau integrated with traditional prayers.
The prayer book also includes gender-neutral blessings and acknowledges same-sex marriages by replacing the traditional “bride and groom” with the word “couples.”
While Mishkan HaNefesh differs from Mahzor Hadash in many stylistic ways, said Bearman, “the most critical difference” is that it was created by the Central Conference of American Rabbis and reflects “the Union For Reform Judaism’s commitment to tradition, innovation and inclusivity.”