Yom Kippur 2009

Image: The Jewish Federation of San Antonio

On the Jewish calendar, the Days of Awe which began on Rosh Hoshanah come to a close with Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement. In 2009, Yom Kippur begins at sundown today, September 27, and is kept as a holy day through nightfall on September 28.

This video offers the sense and the sound of the seriousness of this day on the Jewish calendar:

The moving meditation below (H/T to Murph) is from Yom Kippur's Kol Nidre service found in Gates of Repentance, the Union prayerbook for the Days of Awe by Chaim Stern, Central Conference of American Rabbis.

Birth is a beginning
And death a destination.
And life is a journey:
From childhood to maturity
And youth to age;
From innocence to awareness
And ignorance to knowing;
From foolishness to discretion
And then, perhaps, to wisdom;
From weakness to strength
Or strength to weakness –
And, often, back again;
From health to sickness
And back, we pray, to health again;
From offense to forgiveness,
From loneliness to love,
From joy to gratitude,
From pain to compassion,
And grief to understanding –
From fear to faith;
From defeat to defeat to defeat –
Until, looking backward or ahead,
We see that victory lies
Not at some high place along the way,
But in having made the journey, stage by stage,
A sacred pilgrimage.
Birth is a beginning
And death a destination.
And life is a journey,
A sacred pilgrimage –
To life everlasting.

For our own moments of reflection and atonement, this beautiful setting of Kol Nidre for cello by Max Bruch serves well...