Yom Kippur: A Day of Atonement

Jews praying in the synagogue
Maurycy Gottlieb: Jews Praying in the Synagogue on Yom Kippur

Yom Kippur, aka The Day of Atonement: this represents the time when Jews will have their fate decided. How much money will be earned for the year, what a person’s health will be, as well whatever is supposed to happen to a person in their life during the year.  People of course pray that everything that will happen should be good for the person.

I should note that on this occasion, the prayers are only directed between people and G-d, not between people and other people.  Any “offense” that take place between people is not covered by Yom Kippur.  The individuals involved need to ask for pardon from each other.

Yom Kippur is the end of this Holy time of year, which began with Rosh Hashanah.  This is a ten day period when forgiveness is asked from G-d as well as from “man”. As it says in the Liturgy, on Rosh Hashanah G-d writes down what will be and on Yom Kippur that decree is sealed.

This year, Yom Kippur will begin the evening of Tuesday, September 18th and conclude the evening of Wednesday, the 19th.

Contributed by: Edward Schabes, Library Assistant, Midtown

(Updated with 2018 dates and new picture.)

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A Moving Rosh Hashanah Prayer

May Your New Year Be Sweetened with Happiness
(Image via Flickr; CC BY 2.0)

Rosh Hashanah, in Hebrew, means Head of the Year. It is one of Judaism’s holiest days and begins this year the night of Sunday, September 9th until the night of Tuesday, September 11th. There are many moving prayers and traditions designated for the High Holy days, but I would like to highlight one prayer that goes back to approximately the 10th or 11th century called U-Netaneh Tokef (“Let us tell the mighty holiness of this day”). Continue reading