Can we ever truly make a fresh start? Yom Kippur says the answer is yes.
This year, Yom Kippur falls on the evening of the 22nd and the day of the 23rd September.
Beginning on Kol Nidre, this solemn festival falling on the tenth days after Rosh Hashanah, opens up with the haunting melodies sung only at this season. Fasting, dressing in simple clothes without luxury, perfume or make up, spending all evening and all day with others in synagogue; the millions of words we utter can seem to wash over us.
Yet somehow, in this long day of spiritual overload, there is moment of connection, with ourselves, our pasts, a new way to think of the lives we live, and a sense too, of the ultimate One.
Yom Kippur services run from 7:30pm on the festival eve, concluding 25 hours later at sunset. We hold children’s activities for all ages throughout the morning, and provide snacks so that parents don’t worry about having to take their children home for lunch. Some people like to stay for the whole day, some drift in and out, and many arrive just toward the memorial service near the end.
Religious services do not appeal to all of our members and we hold a period of silent meditation as well as a discussion group during the day. We conclude with Havdalah, a closing ceremony of wine and fire, and a communal and very joyful breaking of the fast.