Pages 138 and 139 invite worshippers to consider different concepts of God. Page 138 describes God in traditional language as a “majestic God... infinite... enthroned,” while page 139 calls God a “beloved friend” and directly challenges the concept of God as a shepherd.

Page 138 – traditional

alternative – Page 139

Unetaneh Tokef is an ancient liturgical poem that to many is one of the classic prayers of the High Holidays. It describes God deciding over the High Holidays the fate of all humans. Knowing many modern Jews wrestle with the image of a judgmental, deterministic God, editors on these the two pages offer contrasting images of the period.

Page 178 – traditional

alternative – Page 179

Pages 180 and 181 show a typical way the new prayerbook engages with doubt. On page 180, it describes an all-knowing God who “created us,” while on page 181 readers can pray while speaking explicitly of their doubt in the Bible and its stories. It uses both newly-written prayer and modern poetry, in this case by Carl Sandburg.

Page 180 – traditional

alternative – Page 181

SOURCE: CCAR Press. Published March 6, 2015.