Aleinu
(Hebrew, 'It is our duty to praise')Prayer declaring the sovereignty and unity of God. In all likelihood it was composed by RAV in BABYLONIA in the third century for the NEW YEAR. It is now recited at the end of every SYNAGOGUE service. During the middle ages it was the prayer recited by MARTYRS. Due to its uncompromising assertion of MONOTHEISM, it became the object of attack by those who perceived it as critical of the Christan faith; its recitation was prohibited in Aragon in 1336, and PRAGUE in 1399. In 1703 the cancellation of one passage - which is currently omitted in the ASHKENAZI rite - was formally authorized. In Ashkenazi synagogues it is chanted during the additional service on the HIGH HOLY DAYS.   

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Reprinted with permission from A Concise Encyclopedia of Judaism,
by Dan Cohn-Sherbok. Oneworld Publications