By Steven Herbert
Yom Kippur begins at sunset with devout Jews fasting and asking forgiveness for their sins.
According to Jewish tradition, Yom Kippur is the day when Moses came down from Mount Sinai with the second set of tablets – he had smashed the first – and proclaimed God’s forgiveness to the people for worshiping a golden calf.
Observant Jews believe that God writes the names of the righteous in the Book of Life on Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, and seals the book ten days later on Yom Kippur. For this reason, the traditional greeting among Jews on Yom Kippur is Gemar Chatima Tova, which means “good final sealing” and expresses the wish, “May your name be sealed in the book of life.”
Yom Kippur services begin with the Kol Nidre, an ancient prayer that literally means “all vows” or “all promises.” The last service of the day ends with the sounding of a ram’s horn called a shofar.
Yom Kippur ends at sunset on Wednesday, ending the 10-day period in the Jewish calendar known as the days of Teshuvah, variously translated as repentance, return and change, and the days of reverence. Many Jews fast on Yom Kippur and spend much of the time in synagogues.
“Yom Kippur is our holiest day, a day when we believe more than any other that we can transform ourselves, transform our relationships, and transform the fundamentals of our lives to make the world a better place,” said Rabbi Noah Farkas, President and CEO of The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles announced to the City News Service.
“The world is noisy. It can feel murky and confusing. But on this Yom Kippur, as we take stock of who we are and what we want out of life, we must not shut ourselves off from the problems of the world. We must rise and use the noise to create a sacred song that elevates us above all.
“This is the day to use the pain of the world to create a better one. To turn the cacophony of chaos into goodness. Making the divine decision to create the future instead of being afraid of the future. This is our sacred mission as Jews, to work with God and to look at our noisy world and refuse to run from it. To be like God and rise up and say, “Let there be light.”
In his Yom Kippur message, President Joe Biden said: “At the heart of Yom Kippur is the universal truth that we are all capable of growth and improvement. Each of us has a role to play, not only in healing the wounds we have inflicted on others, but also in repairing the rifts in our communities, our country, and our world.
“As these days of reverence come to an end, let us all take this opportunity to face honestly the injustice and inhumanity in our world and resolve to do our part to mend what is broken.”
While most congregations require membership and tickets for high holiday services, several organizations conduct free services.
The JEM Center in Beverly Hills will hold a Yom Kippur service Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. On Wednesday there will be a traditional service at 10:00 am, a Yizkor memorial service at approximately 12:30 pm, an afternoon service at 4:45 pm and a closing service at 6:00 pm
Registration can be made by calling 310-772-0000 or online at www.jemcommunitycenter.com/events/high-holiday-services-2022-2022-10-04-18-30.
The Laugh Factory will have services Tuesday at 6:00 p.m. Kol Nidre and Wednesday at 11:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. Reservations can be made by calling 323-656-1336.
This is the 39th year in a row that The Laugh Factory has hosted free worship on the High Holy Days.
Stephen Wise Temple, a Reform church in Bel-Air, will host what it touts as a family-friendly Kol Nidre service at 5:00 p.m. and Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. on WiseLA.org/online, Facebook.com/WiseLA and stream YouTube.com/WiseTempleLA.
A “tot service” will be streamed Wednesday at 9:30 a.m. and a Kindergarten through sixth grade will be streamed Wednesday at 10:30 a.m. on Facebook.com/WiseSchoolLA.
A digital worship supplement is available at www.wisela.org/3d-flip-book/high-holy-days-2022-5783-supplement/.
Shomrei Torah Synagogue, a conservative community in West Hills, will stream a Kol Nidre service Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. at www.stsonline.org/media-gallery/live-streaming.
Temple Judea, a Reform congregation in Tarzana, will stream their Kol Nidre service Tuesday at 4:55 p.m. on templejudea.com/pray/live-stream/.