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Fasting, Praying, and Repenting: Students Speak about Yom Kippur

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Fasting, Praying, and Repenting: Students Speak about Yom Kippur

Temple Beth Emeth in Ann Arbor.

Temple Beth Emeth in Ann Arbor.

Temple Beth Emeth in Ann Arbor.

Temple Beth Emeth in Ann Arbor.

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Temple Beth Emeth in Ann Arbor.

All over Southeast Michigan people were filling the sanctuary of Temple Beth Emeth on the 17th and 18th, along with Jews packing into other temples all over the world. It was a week after Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, and the time of year for the Jewish holiday of Yom Kippur.

Yom Kippur is one of the holiest days of the year for Jews; it is the Day of Atonement, or the day for forgiving your sins and being inscribed for a blessed new year. That is why it is a week after Rosh Hashanah, so you can start off your new year strong. Part of this holiday includes fasting for 25 hours, sundown to sundown. Several Community High students participated in this fasting. Abby Lauer spoke about her fasting and the struggles she had with it this year.

“You have to fast all day, sundown to sundown. The hardest thing about it was that I was always thinking about eating and I would see commercials on TV about food and they would make me really hungry. I stayed away from the kitchen as much as possible, Abby said.

Jeremy Simon, another Community student who partook in Yom Kippur this year, also had a few words to share about Yom Kippur and fasting.  “Fasting is important to me because I want to atone for the sins that I did in the past year, and go into the New Year fresh of previous sins.  When asked what Yom Kippur means to him, or how he interprets it, Jeremy told me, “Yom Kippur means a lot to me. I feel so good that I’m repenting for my sins of the past year. Because when I do bad things, you know, I have to repent. And it just feels really good inside that I’m with G-d.”

When the sun sets on Yom Kippur, Jews are relieved that they can finally break the fast and that Yom Kippur is over. Families go out to eat together or have big feasts at their homes.  They can talk about and be optimistic for a new year and how each person will improve from the previous year. They have been forgiven of their sins and they can start the new Jewish year fresh, with a clean slate.

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