Tikvat Israel Congregation

A Conservative Synagogue in Rockville, MD

High Holiday Piyyutim Discussed by Women’s Network

From the left: Kate Jennes-Kahn, Hilda Springer, and Allison Goldstein-Berger ponder piyyutim

Fourteen women joined Rabbah Arlene Berger at Tikvat Israel for a Rosh Chodesh program Sunday, Sept. 10, which she called “Opening Up the High Holiday Piyyutim.”

The program was sponsored by the TI Women’s Network chapter.
 
In discussing the medieval liturgical poems known in Hebrew as piyyutim, Berger called upon participants to ask themselves what particular piyyutim mean to them. As with any poem, piyyutim are subject to interpretation. 
 
She noted that many of these poems repeat phrases to make them more memorable, having been written in the days before prayers were transcribed and before prayer books were used. Many were written by anonymous authors, but others contain the author’s name in an acrostic. 
 
Berger noted that she will be leading two side trips during the High Holidays and will be talking more about piyyutim.