In a few short hours, the cloak of evening will fall, the Kol Nidre prayer will be offered, and Yom Kippur will begin. Yom Kippur has certainly evolved; the ancient service in Jerusalem was a spectacle I would have loved to have seen. The High Priest in the Holy of Holies, the Azazel goat being led into the wilderness, the awe and fear settling over the holy city… it is history that has passed into memory, available only in the language of literature like the Mishna Yoma. Recreating that atmosphere these days is nigh impossible. Instead, we’ll commemorate the day by twitter feeds screeching to a halt, status updates going into a twenty-five hour state of limbo, not going to youth soccer practices, and not watching the Red Sox (that’s actually not a bad thing). My Yom Kippur experience in recent years has featured a few hours in the main service, followed by painful and spiritually unfulfilling attempts at participating in kids’ and family services, and lots of time on the playground. It’s hard to get to a pure Yom Kippur place with three kids, but I’ll give it a shot again this year.
Yom Kippur is a day when many of us make a statement about belonging. The power of our communal prayer, our communal confession in the Ashamnu prayer, and the experience of going through the day with fellow Jews cannot be understated. I hope you all find great personal and communal meaning as you experience Yom Kippur tonight and tomorrow.
Gmar Tov, and I’ll see you on the other side.