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Jewish Journal

The Holiest Day of the Year

by Abby Gilad

September 20, 2001 | 8:00 pm

Remember when you did that terrible thing and you didn't want to tell your parents? You're the one who dropped the video camera and broke it, but you couldn't tell them. Or, you haven't turned your homework in for a week, and you can't tell them. The secret weighs on you. It makes you feel heavy, sleepy, angry. And finally, you can't stand it anymore. You run to your Mom and Dad and you tell them. You tell them everything. And what happens? They forgive you! They decide what consequences you deserve, but that's OK. That's better than that horrible secret you were carrying around. Because they forgave you and still love you!

That's what Yom Kippur is all about. On this day, you run to your friends, family and God, and you say: I did this, I did that! And they forgive you. It's a relief to be able to tell them. Yom Kippur is the holiest of the year. On this day, you must ask for forgiveness from people you might have hurt, so that they will have the opportunity to forgive you and make you feel better. On this day, it is important to forgive people who might have hurt you, so that you too, will be able to give them the gift of forgiveness.

Pick out the three traditions that happen on Yom Kippur and not on any other holiday:

1. We read from the Torah.

2. We wear holiday clothes.

3. Tallit is worn after dark.

4. No "Kiddush" is said before the meal.

5. We say the "Shema."

6. We say Havdala.

7. Candles are lit after meal.

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