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Mahzor for Young Families: Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur ($18)

Mahzor for Youth: Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur ($20)

20% discount available on orders of 15 copies, or more of either book
(contact the Cantors Assembly office for bulk orders 330-864-8533 or cantors@cantors.org)

As the parent of a young child, I find myself highly conscious of the idea of sensory engagement. My 3-year-old daughter is on the verge of retaining her earliest memories and I often find myself wondering, what will those early memories consist of? My husband and I do all we can to facilitate a sense of pride in her Jewish identity and help her create positive and meaningful early memories around being Jewish.

At Park Avenue Synagogue, our wonderful team is conscious of this same value and goal. We want all of the children in our community to feel like the shul belongs to them as much as it belongs to their grown-ups. We are blessed with incredible resources and educators and the children in our Young Family Programming and Early Childhood Center learn about prayer from the earliest ages. But we were left wondering, how can these same little ones be engaged in the services in our main sanctuary, the heart and soul of our prayer life? Even though our Friday night services are inter-generational and full of music and ruah, at the core of our tradition lies a barrier for our youngest members who have yet to learn how to read in any language: the prayer book.

As part of a small editorial team, Cantor Azi Schwartz and I have spent the last two years working on addressing this issue by creating a series of prayer books intended for our youngest learners. Our first volume, Mahzor for Young Families (ages 2-7) was released this past Rosh Hashanah and was received with glowing reviews by children, parents, grandparents and educators in our community. Our foremost goal was to stay true to the liturgy, enhancing our traditional prayers with beautiful pictures and musical recordings which all serve to imprint the beauty and holiness of these days onto our children’s hearts and souls. The book was designed to be used in services as well as in the home, empowering children AND their grown-ups to feel a sense of ownership around creating a Jewish home through shared blessings and texts.

Prayer is a multi-sensory experience. The colorful and playful pages of this book not only show the words of the prayers and what they mean, but also the structure of the service and its choreography. In addition, we recorded accompanying music available for download. The musical selections include contemporary compositions commissioned recently by the PAS Music Center, as well as familiar melodies closely identified with the High Holy Days. We believe in the power of song and know that singing will help children learn the prayers, find meaning in the text, and become comfortable with the full range of Jewish music. -Cantor Rachel Brook