Before Yom Kippur I got a look at a PDF (uncorrected, not for distribution, highly radioactive, not proofread, and under the strictness of Conservative cherems. Also available here) of the new RA High Holiday machzor, scheduled for publication in May, 2010.
Readers of this blog (hi, Dad) might know that I have bitched and moaned in the past about the Conservative machzor, vintage 1978, with its worst translation in the world and assorted theological missteps (confessing our sins against the victims of the Holocaust!).
Features of the new machzor, or at least what I saw of it, that I like:
- Retaining (or reviving) the double-acrostic al-chet.
- Revising and in many cases improving the English translations.
- Including piyyutim (liturgical poetry) from a variety of locales and centuries, including some not familiar to me (your machzorage may vary).
- A marginal commentary that is helpful but not in your face. It's not as scholarly (read: nerdy) as I would like, but I'm not sure that was their goal.
- A great acrostic alternative to Avinu Malkenu.
Features I could do without:
- Tortured & corny rationalizations for including the imahot in the Amidah. If you include them (I do), then do it, and include the option in the machzor. But vague yeasty talk about "listening to women's voices" won't move anyone anywhere but away from inclusion.
- Keeping the silly English acrostic as a translation for the al-chet. It's still silly.
I'm looking forward to seeing the final version.