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.
In his Yom Kippur message, President Donald Trump said, “Through teshuva, tefilla, and tzedakah, Jews on Yom Kippur reach toward God to reunite and seek spiritual closeness to our Creator. As the day’s services conclude, the final great blast of the shofar signals the end of the Day of Atonement and a strengthening and renewal of the spiritual bond with God.”
Tefilla is the Hebrew word for prayer. In Judaism, tzedakah refers to the religious obligation to do what is right and just. It is commonly used to signify charity, which in Jewish tradition is defined as giving of their own resources to others, including money, time and advice.
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 will carry the 3 p.m. service conducted at the 92nd Street Y in New York City. The network is carried by DirecTV on Channel 366.
JewishJournal.com will stream the 6 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 services from 6:30-8:30 p.m. Tuesday and 11 a.m.-2:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Writers Guild Theater in Beverly Hills.
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.”
Free service will be held at the Laugh Factory in Hollywood from 6-7 p.m. Tuesday, and 11 a.m.-1 p.m and 6-7 p.m. Wednesday.
This is the 36th year High Holy Days services will be held at the Laugh Factory. Due to high attendance, reservations are requested to be made by calling 323-656-1336 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org with the number of guests, contact number, & ZIP code.
People planning to attend are requested to arrive early in order to be accommodated indoors.
“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.
“So 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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