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Judaism’s Holiest Day: Yom Kippur

Yom Kippur “The Day of Atonement” is the culmination of the High Holy Days observance which began with Rosh Hashanah on the evening of Friday, September 15th.

This year Yom Kippur will begin at sundown this Sunday, September 24, and be observed through nightfall of Monday the 25th. It marks the last of the solemn “Ten Days of Awe” (in Hebrew Yamim Nora’im) which began with Rosh Hashanah and it is the final opportunity to repent in prayer before God before The Book of Life is sealed for another year.

The Bible calls this day the “Sabbath of Sabbaths” given to the Jews as a lasting ordinance from God, and commanded as a time of inner purification, worship, atonement for sin, fasting and reconciliation both with the Creator of the Universe and our fellow man. The importance of this theme of reconciliation is underscored by Kol Nidrei, which opens the more than 26 hour fast and observance of Yom Kippur. Kol Nidrei is not a prayer. It is a declaration of the “annulment of all vows” (Kol Nidrei), harsh judgments, and promises, by Hashem and by Man.

On Yom Kippur, it is Jewish tradition to light two candles. After lighting the candles with the customary opening prayer, it is traditional to thank God in a second prayer for His gift of Life with the words:” Baruch ata Adonai, Eloheinu, melech ha-olam shehechiyanu v’kiyimanu v’higlyanu la-zman ha-zeh.” “Blessed are you, Lord our God, Ruler of the Universe who has kept us alive, sustained us, and allow us to reach this moment.”

Observed as a day of strict fasting, the inspiring words of Isaiah 58 are read aloud in the synagogue to reveal the true meaning the of Yom Kippur Fast:

“Is this not the fast I have chosen:
To loose the bonds of wickedness,
To undo the heavy burdens,
To let the oppressed go free,
And that you break every yoke?
Is it not that you share your bread with the hungry
And that you bring to your house the poor who are cast out
When you see the naked, that you clothe him
And that you not hide yourself from your own flesh?”
Isaiah 58:6-7

May every Christian join with our Jewish brethren in this important time to write the true meaning of Yom Kippur on our hearts!

G’mar chatima tovah (A Good Final Sealing)


President/Proclaiming Justice to The Nations

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