Yom Kippur, which is considered the holiest and most somber day on the Jewish calendar, begins at sundown Tuesday, with the observant fasting and seeking forgiveness for their sins.
Yom Kippur concludes at sundown Wednesday, ending the 10-day period on the Jewish calendar known as Days of Teshuvah, which is variously translated as repentance, return and change. Many Jews fast on Yom Kippur and spend much of the time in synagogues.
According to Jewish tradition, Yom Kippur is the day on which Moses came down from Mount Sinai with the second set of commandment tablets — he had smashed the first — and announced God’s pardon to the people for worshipping a golden calf.
Observant Jews believe that God inscribes the names of the righteous in the Book of Life on Rosh Hashana, the Jewish New Year, and seals the book on Yom Kippur, 10 days later. For that reason, the traditional greeting among Jews on Yom Kippur is Gemar Chatima Tova, which means “good final sealing” and conveys 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.
“On Yom Kippur, in the ancient temple, the high priest offered sacrifices first to atone the deeds of himself and his family and then for the community as a whole,” said Rabbi Ilana Grinblat, vice president of community engagement for the Board of Rabbis at The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles.
“Likewise Tuesday, Yom Kippur is a time to take stock of our relationships towards our family and community and how we would like to better fulfill our responsibilities in the coming year. ”
In his Yom Kippur message, President Donald Trump said, “Yom Kippur provides an opportunity to draw nearer to God through the practice of teshuva in accordance with the words of Leviticus: `For on this day shall atonement be made for you, to cleanse you; from all your sins shall ye be clean before the Lord.”’
While most congregations require membership and tickets for High Holy Days services, options for nonaffiliated Jews include services that will be televised or streamed.
Jewish Life Television, can be viewed on DirecTV’s Channel 366, will carry the 6 p.m. service conducted by Rabbi David Baron of the Beverly Hills Temple of the Arts at the Saban Theatre on Wilshire Boulevard.
JewishJournal.com will stream the 6:30 p.m. service conducted at the Founder’s Church of Religious Science in Koreatown by Rabbi Naomi Levy of Nashuva, which describes itself as a “post-denominational, nonmembership community open to all that meshes spirituality with social action.”
The Chai Center will hold a service from 6:45-8:30 p.m. at the Landmark Regent Theater at 1045 Broxton Ave. in Westwood. Reservations are not required. Donations are encouraged.
The Chai Center describes itself as “a very nonprofit organization dedicated to serving the Jewish community of Greater Los Angeles” with such events as a “Dinner for 60 Strangers” each Friday evening, classes on a variety of topics of Judaism and singles parties “for Conservative, Reform, non-affiliates and any Jew that moves.”
A free service will be held at 5 p.m. at the Laugh Factory at 8001 Sunset Blvd. in Hollywood, conducted in the Reform Jewish tradition by Rabbi Bob Jacobs. This is the 35th year High Holy Days services will be held at the Laugh Factory.
“Two of the main reasons I love doing this is it gives so many actors, writers, comedians, and the entire Hollywood community who are away from their families a place to pray for the holidays,” club owner Jamie Masada said.
“Many people cannot afford the high cost of tickets that most temples charge in order to attend services. At the Laugh Factory Temple, all are welcome to come and pray.”
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