Ben Zion Shenker: Midnight Selichot, Live (1963)

The selichot service, built around a string of penitential piyyutim (called selichot, or petitions), is one of the great Sephardic/Ashkenazi liturgical divides. While Sephardic Jews recite them, before dawn, during the forty days that precede the New Year, Ashkenazi Jews begin reciting them the Saturday night (typically at midnight) before the New Year (and then continue in the early mornings during the following days).

What is with this ’round midnight custom? To be continued, but first…