This past Yom Kippur, as my 4-year-old son and I were walking into shul, I was explaining why Mommy and the other adults were fasting. I said: “And when you’re 13 …”
This most recent High Holy Days, I had the privilege of experiencing a dozen different synagogues in Los Angeles. They were for me days of awe -- and days of discovery.
Word went out from the congregation that a longtime member was nearing the end of her life. She has no partner and no children, but, on the day after Yom Kippur, 17 friends from the congregation came to visit her, including current and former clergy, and grown children she used to baby-sit.
Israel asked the United Nations to recognize Yom Kippur as an official U.N. holiday.
Tradition tells us that the Gates of Repentance stay open until the end of Sukkot. The intensity of Yom Kippur has diminished, but we still remember the hours together, knocking on our hearts, trying to do spiritual CPR, to wake us up to the truth of our lives.
On Sunday, my wife and I drove out to the Valley to buy a new sukkah. It was time. I’d bought our old sukkah from an Armenian Catholic who supplied booths to vendors in farmers’ markets. When his orders began to spike in September, he realized he could have a good little side business selling these things to Jews for their holiday of Sukkot. Only in America.
Just hours before Kol Nidre, more than 100 chickens intended to be used for kaporot ceremonies won a reprieve. Kaporot, which means “Atonement,” is a 1,000-year-old custom observed by some Orthodox Jews between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur in which an individual swings a live chicken over his head three times and says a prayer— as a ritual transference of sins to the chicken.
Worried about how to get through the 24-hour fast?
While many of us are finding this year’s Yom Kippur conveniently scheduled because it falls on the weekend, at Texas A&M the holiday clashes with one of the most significant days on the football calendar: Aggies vs. Alabama. The Wall Street Journal reports:
Thousands of chickens designated for the pre-Yom Kippur kapparot ritual died in New York due to unseasonable heat.
In a time when fasting can be a political statement or a fitness trend, you might wonder about its enduring value as a spiritual ritual. To learn more, we asked people who fast on Yom Kippur what they get out of it. Our modest sample yielded folks who are interested only in a meaningful personal experience, unrelated to why anybody else fasts. For these people, the act of fasting on Yom Kippur is a choice that has nothing to do with contemporary exigencies.
In addition to his vast experience as a psychiatrist and psychoanalyst treating survivors of childhood and adult trauma, Dr. Stephen Marmer is known by many of his patients as someone who has a positive view of the role religion can play in one’s psyche and happiness.
Every year on Yom Kippur, Jews in synagogues all over the world engage in a communal chest-beating during the Vidui, to repent, symbolically, for our collective sins. But what about the sin of being too hard on ourselves? As the High Holy Days approach once again, it seems logical to wonder why it is always so much easier to forgive others than ourselves.
Of the all surprises on Yom Kippur 40 years ago, the most difficult for Israel to come to grips with was the least tangible.
A week before Yom Kippur 1973, I moved from Hazerim air force base to Jerusalem to study history at Hebrew University. Yet it was life, not university, which actually taught me a history lesson.
“This is Kol Yisrael from Jerusalem, Reshet Aleph and Reshet Bet. Shalom and Gmar Hatimah Tovah. It’s 3 p.m. An official IDF [Israel Defense Forces] spokesman reports that at approximately 2 p.m. today, the Egyptian and Syrian armies launched attacks in the Sinai and in the Golan Heights.
When my mother, Shulamit E. Kustanowitz, died in May 2011, the in-person Jewish community provided all the basics — post-shivah meals, abundant hugs and three places to say Kaddish: Temple Beth Am for daily minyan, Friday nights at IKAR and Shabbat mornings at B’nai David-Judea. Although I was grateful for the support, my emotional needs during that year turned out to be more complex.
For years, Rina Deych was treated like she was crazy. Fighting the Yom Kippur ritual of kapparot, she was told things had always been this way and if she kept up the battle, she would only incite anti-Semitism.
With chants of “Shonda,” and “Shame,” a group of around 75 protestors demonstrated on Sept. 8 in front of two sites on Pico Blvd where kaporot ceremonies were taking place.
A few days before Yom Kippur, thousands of white-feathered chickens land on Pico Boulevard. Not there to be broiled, boiled or fricasseed in any of the nearby kosher restaurants in this predominantly Jewish business district, they nonetheless have arrived in time to be served up.
If my calculations are correct, I have listened to somewhere between 70 and 80 High Holy Days sermons. The total sounds high, but when you consider that typically four different High Holy Days sermons are delivered between Erev Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, the numbers add up quickly.
Before creating the human being, according to a Midrash, God consulted the angels of heaven. The Angel of Peace argued, “Don’t create him! He will bring war into Your world!” The Angel of Compassion countered, “He will do kindness, create him!”
The conversation is supposed to begin like this: “Will you forgive me for anything I might have said or done this year that has hurt you?”
On Yom Kippur, after the day’s hard spiritual work is done, the break-the-fast meal poses its own challenges. An upside: No one is terribly picky about what they’re taking in after 24 hours of fasting.
This will be the sixth consecutive year that I lead Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur services. I would like to revisit lessons I have learned in retaining attendees’ interest in the service and even in keeping hundreds of them in synagogue all day on Yom Kippur.
Here in Pico-Robertson, we’re bracing ourselves for the annual onslaught of kosher calories known as the Holy Month. Some people think that this time of year calls for only a few big meals. Not quite. If you’re a stickler for tradition, the actual number of Thanksgiving-level meals over the next month is closer to — I’m not kidding — about 18. And that’s not even counting the Yom Kippur pre-fast and break-the-fast meals.
A listing of free High Holy Day services in Los Angeles
A deep spiritual life is hard to find. While opportunities abound for spiritual connections (yoga, meditation, retreats and the like), for most of us it doesn’t come easy. The noise, unfinished to-do lists and the distractions of everyday life interfere with quieting our minds, letting go of our egos for a moment and connecting to something far greater than ourselves.
The good news for Jewish children’s books this year is the occasion of the 20th anniversary of beloved picture book character Sammy Spider. There is even a colorful plush toy available on the publisher’s Web site (karben.com).
We live in a world that values achievement, excellence, hard work, and success. There’s nothing wrong with any of these things. In fact, I wish them on us all - on our synagogues and our schools, on ourselves and our children as well.
On Aug. 5, the Birthright Israel alumni organization NEXT launched its 2013 High Holy Days initiative. It features an interactive, nationwide map of services and events — including learning opportunities, dinners and break-the-fasts — as well as a first-time offering of resources and small subsidies for people willing to host Rosh Hashanah meals and Yom Kippur break-the-fasts.
In 2001, Martin (Marty) Sklar, now 79, was officially recognized as a “Disney Legend” — The Walt Disney Co.’s version of the Hall of Fame. In 2009, another exclusive distinction was bestowed on the low-key leader who had for decades guided Walt Disney Imagineering (WDI), the group that designs and constructs Disney’s theme parks and resorts worldwide: On his final day before retiring, Sklar was honored with a window dedicated to him on Disneyland’s Main Street.
The Israel Tennis Association will have to pay more than $13,000 for refusing to play a Davis Cup match on Yom Kippur.
On Yom Kippur, we ask “Who by fire?” Sadly, this year at Tisha b’Av, we already know the answer — the 19 firefighters who perished in Arizona.
If you were surprised by just how early the high holidays are this year, you’re in good company.
When cellist Lynn Harrell would play “Kol Nidre” at his synagogue on Yom Kippur, he felt more than the notes and the melody. It was through the music that he discovered he wanted to become a Jew.
"I think Hank Greenberg was the great American hero," Washington filmmaker Aviva Kempner says. "What he did on Yom Kippur. What he faced. He was our Jackie Robinson."
Everyone has their moments of failure, when they transgress. Not necessarily out of malice, but in response to temptation or opportunity or out of fear.
The central character of Purim is Esther, whose name means hidden. The story is full of things hidden, and waiting for the right time to be revealed.
Sari and I were scheduled to meet on Yom Kippur — that is, until I realized what day it was and sent her an e-mail to reschedule. She hadn’t realized, either.
Yom Kippur 2010. The part of the synagogue where I sit is full of women talking with one another, and small kids giggling and playing around. It is extremely hot, and the extra layers of manteau (long outerwear) and the scarf covering my hair add to the intolerable heat.
During Yom Kippur, many Jews fret over whether Jewish Major Leaguers will play on the holiest of holidays. This has become a growing problem, because the number of Jews playing Major League Baseball (MLB) has been increasing.
I’m watching you live from my house. I couldn’t get access to any synagogue here in Nairobi and had no idea how to go about Yom Kippur, but thank God I got you on Google. I’m now attending the first Yom Kippur in my life via the Internet. Thank you. You have no idea what this means to me.
I can’t say I was shocked by the phone call and emails from Scandinavia that I received one night after Yom Kippur, telling me that the Jewish Community Center in Malmö, Sweden, had been attacked with an explosive device and bricks through its reinforced entrance just after midnight on Sept. 28. No casualties, thank G-d, this time.
“With savages, the weak in body or mind are soon eliminated; and those that survive commonly exhibit a vigorous state of health. We civilized men, on the other hand, do our utmost to check the process of elimination; we build asylums for the imbecile, the maimed and the sick; we institute laws for the indigent, and our medical men exert their utmost skill to save the life of everyone to the last moment. ... No one who has attended to the breeding of domestic animals will ever doubt that this must be highly injurious to the race of man.”
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad told the U.N. General Assembly that his country is under military threat from "uncivilized Zionists."
Israeli leaders made no comment on Tuesday over the latest outburst from Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, maintaining near-total silence as the country closed down for the holiest Jewish day of the year, Yom Kippur.
Jews are being urged to pray during Yom Kippur services for an end to the threat of a nuclear-armed Iran.
With its lively beaches, all-night clubs and restaurants serving ham and shrimp, Tel Aviv is a city known more for its Speedos than its spirituality.
I haven’t forgotten you, even though it’s been some time now since I’ve seen your face, touched your hand, heard your voice. You are with me all the time.
I grew up in a home filled with food and love and laughter and music and Yiddishkayt and stories. I was the youngest of four kids and we were part of a tribe in Boro Park, Brooklyn, with my uncle Nat’s family living on the floor above us, my uncle Ruby’s family living next door to us, and my grandparents living above them. Nobody ever knocked on the door and nobody ever needed a key, everybody was always barging into everybody else’s home.
You don’t have to be a Jewish scholar to note a glaring difference between Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, and Jan. 1, the secular New Year.