The Conservative movement’s Rabbinical Assembly sent me a review copy of their brand new machzor, Lev Shalem. This year I’m gonna be getting three or four machzorim and reviewing them around Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kipur. Others on my list are the also brand new Machzor Eit Ratzon, and the less new Mahzor Hadash. MER is a companion to my favorite siddur (for groups, not for individual use), Siddur Eit Ratzon and Mahzor Hadash is the maczhor we use at Chavurat Lamdeinu in Madison, NJ.
Machzor Lev Shalem is a really gorgeous volume on first glance, which is the only glance I’ve yet had time for. It has a really beautiful brown cover that feels very soft to the touch. I think it’s faux leather.
The most typographically persnickety readers will notice that it’s been designed with an all-new typeface. It has less outright personality than Koren’s fonts, but it beats that wacky script from Mishkan T’filah. At first I thought it was Hadassah, but it’s a slightly more elegant variation on Hadassah, the most ubiquitous modern Hebrew typeface. It was designed by Scott-Martin Kosofsky, whose thoughts you can read about the machzor on this thread over at Typophile.
The most interesting thing I gleaned from the thread is this:
I am working with the CCAR, the Reform rabbinical organization, on a prayerbook for mourners at home and, soon, their new Mahzor. Israel Seldowitz and I are well into a new typeface for it, this one based on Ismar David’s work.
I previously wrote about the CCAR’s new machzor project here. My assumption was that the new machzor would be modeled very closely on Mishkan T’filah, though it now seems it will not be so slavishly similar. If Kosofsky is involved–I discovered him yesterday, but I’m already in love with him–I think the layout will be smarter and less airy. And we already know there will be a new font. So full steam ahead.
A couple more pictures of the new machzor: