Yom Kippur, 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 people for worshipping a golden calf.
Observant Jews believe that God inscribes the names of the righteous in the Book of Life during the period of the High Holy Days, the 10-day period between Rosh Hashana, the Jewish New Year, and Yom Kippur.
For that reason, the traditional greeting among Jews on Yom Kippur is Gemar Chatima Tova, which is shorthand for “May your name be written in the good book.”
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.
Although most congregations require membership and tickets for High Holy Days services, some synagogues and organizations have services that are open to the public for no charge.
The Chai Center will hold a Kol Nidre service at 6:15 p.m. today, a morning prayer service at 11 a.m. Wednesday and the Neilah service at 5:30 p.m. at the Writers Guild Theater at 135 S. Doheny Drive in Beverly Hills.
The Chai Center describes itself as “a very nonprofit organization” that conducts singles parties, Shabbat dinners, holiday celebrations, classes, lectures and counseling “for Conservative, Reform, non-affiliates and any Jew that moves.”
Free services will be held at the Laugh Factory at 8001 Sunset Blvd. in Hollywood at 5:30 p.m. today, and 11 a.m. and 5:45 p.m. Wednesday. Due to high attendance, reservations are quested and can be made by calling (323) 656-1336, ext. 1 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org and including your name, number of guests, contact number, & ZIP code.
Observers are requested to come early in order to be accommodated indoors. This is the 33rd consecutive 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.
“And, with the economic crisis this country has been experiencing now for over a decade, 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.”
— City News Service
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