So it took like 20 years and a dozen committees to create Mishkan T’fillah, the current Reform siddur. Mishkan T’shuvah, the forthcoming new Reform machzor will take significantly less time for three reasons:
- It’s got a small core committee.
- They’re committed to a 2014 release date.
- All the major *ahem* style work was done on MT’f, which MT’sh is intended to be a companion for
Also, I am like a giddy schoolgirl. I have received a PDF of the current draft of the Rosh Hashanah morning service. I have not looked at it yet.
Why have I note read it already? Because I want to create some semblance of objectivity. So, before I read that draft service, here is some kind of rubric thing for it.
I will judge it on these four factors:
- Design and layout: I can’t expect them to break with the design standard that began in MT’f. However, if they insist on going with that one-prayer-per-page-with-commentary design, I hope this time they fill up all the blank space it leaves with engaging commentary. I’ll be judging them on what they manage to do within the constraints of the MT’f layout/design style.
- Quality of commentary: Part of the success of Mahzor Lev Shalem, as I’ve said before, is in the diversity of its commentary and the many levels of knowledge it appeals to. MT’f's commentary, however, often plays only to the least knowledgeable members of the audience.
- Liturgical integrity: I’ll have to ignore day-to-day and week-to-week liturgical issues of the sort that have already been addressed in MT’f. I fully expect them to receive the same treatment in MT’sh. But I will be looking at the unique liturgical issues raised by the season.
The obvious fifth category might be the alternative readings. But I know I’m gonna hate them, so I’m just not gonna bother.
I don’t know how long it will be before I actually write about it, but if there’s anything anyone else thinks I should look out for, let me know in the comments.