Tomorrow is my first Yom Kippur celebration. Since my soon to be Mother in law and her 3 lovely children are Jewish, I get the pleasure of celebrating their holidays and learning more about their culture. I am going to make the assumption that it entails lots of good food, wine and fantastic company as this seems to be the theme every time I go to their celebrations. I have most enjoyed Jewish celebrations and traditions due to their casual, communal and fun approach out of any other religious gathering I have attended, plus reciting prayers in Hebrew just sounds awesome. My own spiritual journey so far in life is one that believes spirituality comes from within and we must each find our own spiritual path. To adhere to a particular religion, wouldn’t be something that suits me. I get the best of all worlds and get to experience all sorts of spiritual and cultural traditions. Perhaps I am just indecisive.
Some background information about Yom Kippur according to Wikipedia:
Yom Kippur (Hebrew: יוֹם כִּפּוּר, IPA: [ˈjom kiˈpur]), also known as the Day of Atonement, is one of the holiest days of the year for Jews. Its central themes are atonement and repentance. Jews traditionally observe this holy day with a 25-hour period of fasting and intensiveprayer, often spending most of the day in synagogue services. Yom Kippur completes the annual period known in Judaism as the High Holy Days (or sometimes “the Days of Awe”).
Yom Kippur is the tenth day of the month of Tishrei. According to Jewish tradition, God inscribes each person’s fate for the coming year into a book, the Book of Life, on Rosh Hashanah, and waits until Yom Kippur to “seal” the verdict. During the Days of Awe, a Jew tries to amend his or her behavior and seek forgiveness for wrongs done against God (bein adam leMakom) and against other human beings (bein adam lechavero). The evening and day of Yom Kippur are set aside for public and private petitions and confessions of guilt (Vidui). At the end of Yom Kippur, one considers one’s self absolved by God.
The Yom Kippur prayer service includes several unique aspects. One is the actual number of prayer services. Unlike a regular day, which has three prayer services (Ma’ariv, the evening prayer; Shacharit, the morning prayer; and Mincha, the afternoon prayer), or aShabbat or Yom Tov, which have four prayer services (Ma’ariv; Shacharit; Musaf, the additional prayer; and Mincha), Yom Kippur has five prayer services (Ma’ariv; Shacharit; Musaf; Mincha; and Ne’ilah, the closing prayer). The prayer services also include a public confession of sins (Vidui) and a unique prayer dedicated to the special Yom Kippur avodah (service) of the Kohen Gadol in the Holy Temple in Jerusalem.