I confess there’s something that’s always bothered me about this time of year, when we put such a big emphasis on reflecting on our mistakes. Why only now? Isn’t this something we should be doing all year? As a community, we certainly do plenty of it, through the very act of constantly challenging one another.
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For other services, visit our College, Family, Free, Kever Avot, Selichot and Tashlich calendars.
Is the mind more powerful than the heart? This question was hovering in the air during an insightful Torah class last week given by Rabbi Yosef Kanefsky, spiritual leader of B’nai David-Judea Congregation. Kanefsky presented two distinct views of the concept of teshuvah, which is commonly referred to as “repentance” but means, more precisely, “to return.”
Ah, the High Holidays. Time to gather, celebrate, eat, fast, repent and eat some more. But before you can get to any of that, there's another, perhaps less-ancient tradition that takes place a few weeks prior. It's the High Holiday scramble, and anyone without deeply planted roots knows how the dance goes. Jewish New Year works much like Dec. 31: You don't want to be alone; there's pressure to have someplace to go; and for transplants, singles and others, the options are less obvious than a meal with the family and services at the synagogue where you grew up. A little originality is called for, and the industrious don't miss a beat.
Those who might have the greatest need to repent this High Holiday season may not be able to.
A severe shortage in Jewish chaplains has led to a situation where the spiritual needs of some prisoners in California's state and federal correctional institutions are not being met.
"When it comes to holidays and services, there's a very real concern that we're not doing a very effective and adequate job at serving in institutionalized settings," said Rabbi Mark Diamond, executive vice president of the Board of Rabbis of Southern California (BOR). "There are many institutionalized Jews that do not have the benefits of a rabbi."
Adults aren't the only ones planning to ask God for forgiveness during the High Holidays. As the Day of Atonement approaches, youngsters around Los Angeles are already contemplating the mistakes they've made over the past year. Here is what eight young Angelenos plan to repent for during Yom Kippur.
Yossi Mizrachi stood in front of a class of second-graders at Harkham Hillel Hebrew Academy with a dark, ridged, 4-foot-long buffalo horn in his hand.
By the time you read this, it's probably too late for me. To repent, I mean.