Yom Kippur, also known as Day of Atonement, begins at 6:46 Friday evening and ends at 7:45 Saturday evening. Rabbi Chanoch Hadar of the shares five things everyone should know about the holiday:
The 10th day of the Hebrew month of Tishrei was when God granted forgiveness to the Israelites for their grave sin of worshiping the Golden Calf. Biblically, it was then ordained as Yom Kippur, which means the Day of Atonement, the annual occasion when Jews are able to internally cleanse themselves and create a fresh start.
Yom Kippur is the most revered day on the Jewish calendar. Though a very serious day, many non-Jews are surprised to learn it is traditionally regarded as the most joyous Jewish holiday, due to the clean slate it offers.
There are five prohibited activities on Yom Kippur: It is forbidden to eat or drink, wear leather footwear, wash, anoint oneself and engage in marital relations. The abstinence from physical pleasures is in line with the angelic experience Jews undergo at this time. Sabbath restrictions also apply.
Though God will grant atonement for sins directed toward him, he cannot forgive the harm or hurt people have inflicted upon others. Therefore, in anticipation of Yom Kippur, Jews are encouraged make extra efforts to ask forgiveness from family, friends and acquaintances. Candles are lit right before the holiday to honor the day.
Yom Kippur is dominated by prayer. It is the only day when five prayers are conducted. Each prayer is packed with poetic renditions of God’s glory and kindness, but also with prescribed confessions and a road map to bettering oneself.
The Woodward Avenue Shul invites everyone to join its Yom Kippur services. The services are traditional but very active and user-friendly. There is no charge. Visit woodwardshul.org, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 248-414-SHUL (7485).