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Highland Park Rabbi Explains the Importance of Yom Kippur

Congregation Solel Rabbi Evan Moffic calls the high holiday 'a time when we look at oursevles and resolve how to change and grow in the year ahead.'

Yom Kippur is the holiest day of the year in Judaism. It is referred to as the “Day of Atonement,” and the tradition is to solemnly fast for repentance and atonement of sins.

"It's a time when we look at oursevles and resolve how to change and grow in the year ahead," said Congregation Solel Rabbi Evan Moffic.

Yom Kippur marks the end of the annual High Holy Day period (Sept. 16 to Sept. 26 in 2012), which begins with Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year. Observation begins at sundown on Sept. 25 with Kol Nidre services.

"It should be both somber and inspiring," Moffic said.

To observe Yom Kippur, one should eat and drink festively the day before—once early in the day and once later, before Kol Nidrei synagogue services. Then, for almost 25 hours, the day is spent in the synagogue without eating, drinking and other restrictions.

"Fasting is not just an end in itself," Moffic said. "It's about focusing our attention on our internal self."

Moffic explained that there's much to be gained from attending services on Yom Kippur in the way attendees meditate on the past year and on the year ahead.

"We gain motivation and perspective when we are part of a community," the rabbi explained.

Typically, the whole congregation comes out for Yom Kippur services, putting pressure on rabbis to make the services impactful and memorable.

"I feel a weighty responsibility to make it a meaningful day for them," Moffic said. "It's my most sacred responsibility."

Congregation Solel's service begins at 10 a.m. on Wednesday. Cards of Admission are required.

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NS September 26, 2012 at 10:51 PM
That was interesting. I still don't understand why schools have to be closed for something so religious and personal. This is not to be flippant; this is an honest inquiry. Why must kids miss school for a religious experience?

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