This evening marks the beginning of Rosh Hashanah, the first of the Jewish High Holidays, and the New Year for the Jewish people. We're welcoming 5769 this year! (Yes, we've been around for awhile. =)
What this means, for those who have not already e-mailed me and gotten the vacation message, is that, as is my custom and religious right, I am taking the holiday off. I will be back in the office on October 2nd. This means no e-mail, no phone calls, no nothing--the world will not end because I'm celebrating with my family and friends. And next week, for Yom Kippur, the same thing happens on October 8th and 9th. Please consider this your public reminder.
I thought, that in honor of the holiday, I would share with you one of my favorite pieces of the liturgy, Aleinu. For those that are unfamiliar with Judaism, prayers are not recited--they are sung, often by the entire congregation, and each prayer has a specific tune, which may be different depending on the congregation and cantor who are singing it. It varies by sect and by whether you are Ashkenazi or Sephardic. What follows below are the best of what I could find online in terms of mp3 and video that captured Aleinu for you. I don't know why more congregations don't record it (hey, you can have a Shabbos goy do it!) because it's one of the prettiest prayers out there.
This is mp3 link number one.
This is mp3 link number two.
They're both by a man singing alone and he does the whole prayer.
The Youtube video below is the closest thing I could find to a congregation singing it with the tune I'm used to; yes, it's little kids, but it gives you more of a feel for it. And it even shows the parts that you're supposed to bend your knees and bow. They're rather cute doing it, I think.
And finally, this is a rough translation of what the Hebrew means. I don't claim to be an expert on any of this--I just really like the prayer and the tune that goes with it.