Saturday, 3 September 2011

The Koren Sacks Machzor

So here it is at last, the moment for which we have all been waiting; the New Koren Sacks Rosh Hashana Machzor. Let me begin by saying that I am not on commission from Koren and I never received the new Machzor from Koren to review. But I'm impressed that this new Machzor has a lot to offer.

It is wrong to assume that Koren is trying to copy the Artscroll. Artscroll has its own features- and follows the Ashkenaz American tradition- but this one follows the Anglo Jewish tradition and is a Machzor with a difference.

First it has a unique Hebrew font which is special to all Koren publications- this is very easy and clear to read. It differentiates between the Kametz katan and the kametz gadol- a very important feature for Sefardic pronounciation.

There are 1073 pages to this Machzor, which is an abundance of pages. However, that does not make it extra heavy because the pages are quite thin- but strong. The shade of the paper is a light cream which means that the print doesn’t glare back at you.

It is quite easy to hold in the hand- not too large

The interesting factor is the page layout.

The Hebrew is on the left side and the English is on the right. It means that the Hebrew and English meet in the middle and fan out on each side making it easier to read.

Also it doesn’t always use block paragraphs but instead utilises a very poetic style of writing, using one line for each phrase. It means that in the body of the text there are not too many words on a page.

The rubrics are very clear and concise giving practical instruction and sometimes a brief analysis of the prayer at hand.

The translation is modern and very readable- the commentary from the Chief Rabbi is excellent but not cumbersome. And there is a good explanation of many of the piyutim (poetic liturgical hymns)

So in my personal opinion I think it’s a very good buy and I think we should be making the change to this wonderful new innovation to our services.

1 comment:

  1. Another informative review of the Mahzor appears at