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Image by Elizabeth Explores
The Morning Service and the Torah Reading

The morning service is similar to the Rosh Hashana service with the exception of the Amidah which includes the confessionals described above and hymns unique to the day. Two Torah scrolls are removed from the Ark and six people are called to the Torah. Leviticus chapter 16 is read which describes the ancient sacrificial service (see Talking Torah section of this website).

The Haftarah (Isaiah 57:14-58:14) is a moving passage that deals with the use of ritual to reach spiritual ends.


Nobody at Battery Park has to be reminded of the meaning of the Yizkor service. Yizkor, the memorial service, is recited four times a year – on Yom Kippur, the 7th day of Pesach, Shemini Azeret and on Shavuot. Yizkor was likely developed in reaction to the Crusades and the terrible loss in that dark period of history. Whatever its origins, Yizkor certainly fits the mood of Yom Kippur.

Some hold the custom of leaving the synagogue if a direct relative (parent or sibling) has not passed. However, there is no halachic (Jewish Law) reason – and some may say – rational reason to leave the service as the Yizkor prayers also recall those who have perished in the Holocaust, martyrs through the ages and, particularly in Israel, soldiers, those in the security forces and terrorist victims who were killed or murdered.

The Yom Kippur Musaf Service

The Musaf service contains two lengthy passages called the Avodah and the Martyrology Services.

The Avodah is an elaborate retelling of the original sacrificial service that took place on Yom Kippur when the Temple stood in Jerusalem and sacrifices were the primary mode of worship. These sacrifices were offered by the priests (Kohanim) but the highlight of the day was the entrance of the High Priest to the Holy of Holies, the innermost chamber of the Temple which he entered one time a year – Yom Kippur.  The High Priest would remain inside for the entire 24-hour period and ask forgiveness for himself, his family of priests and finally on behalf of the entire household of Israel.

When emerging safely, the High Priest would pronounce the ineffable name of God. At this moment, the thousands of worshipers waiting breathlessly would take this as a signal that God had accepted his efforts and prostrate themselves on the ground outside the Temple.

In contrast to the exultation of the Avodah service, the Martyrology service is a total “downer”. The Elah Ezkarah (אלה אזכרה) recalls the moments in Jewish history when Jews were subjected to persecution. The original Elah Ezkarah , dramatically lamented in a poem that describes the torture of ten rabbis who insisted on teaching Torah in defiance of the ancient Roman ban. Many modern Mahzorim (מחזורים) have expanded on this original poem by adding reading related to other instances of Jewish martyrdom including the Holocaust. The Battery Park Synagogue, in its annual memorial book, recalls its friends and neighbors who perished in the horrific 9-11 tragedy.

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