Yom Kippur Category

From my op-ed in morning’s Sunday Chicago Tribune (cross-posted in Shalom Rav): The actions of the Jewish State ultimately reflect upon the Jewish people throughout the world. We in the Diaspora Jewish community have long taken pride in the accomplishments of the Jewish State. As with any family, the success of some reflects a warm light […]

To all whom I have hurt: I apologize

In: Judaism, Yom Kippur

At sunset this evening Yom Kippur begins, the holiest day of the Jewish year. It’s 24 hours of fasting and introspection, and asking forgiveness from our creator. … and from each other: “For transgressions against God, the Day of Atonement atones,” the New Union Prayer Book reads, “but for transgressions of one human being against […]

L’shana tova Time again, according to the Jewish calendar, to celebrate the New Years by looking inwards.  But we do not simply take account of our individual actions over the last year, we also look at our community’s actions.  Each year on Rosh Hashanna and Yom Kippur we traditionally recite the Viduy prayer.  No matter […]

North Carolina is not known as hotbed of Jewish political activism, or Jewish anything for that matter. It’s no Berkeley, and it’s certainly not Brookline, but things are growing. This year the NC Havurah will be hosting a wonderful Yom Kippur retreat at The Stone House. So if you live in the area (or you’re […]

Jonah: The Book of the Question

In: JVoices, Spirituality, Talmud, Yom Kippur

An excerpt from my upcoming collection of essays, For the Love of God: The Bible as an Open Book, Rutgers University Press. To order: PH 800-848-6224 or online rutgerspress.rutgers.edu. About the Author: Alicia Suskin Ostriker is an award-winning poet, critic, and midrashist, whose writing appears in many Jewish anthologies and journals. She is the author […]

Revisioning Unetaneh Tokef

In: Ideas, Rosh Hashanah, Spirituality, Vision, Yom Kippur

One of the reasons I love going to CBST is that there is always another perspective, if not from congregants or clergy leaders, than in the various texts that are offered on the holidays. One that I have enjoyed, and that my sister upon visiting for Rosh Hashanah immediately turned to copy, is an interpretive […]

the calendar has come around again to the time of one of the many proud jewish traditions that has gone out of practice in recent years, though not one that gets mentioned very often.

in ashkenazi communities from nyu-york and buenos (aires) to varshe and london (and i assume to durban and sydney), each fall, on the 10th of tishrey, radical jews – mainly anarchists, though also bundists, communists, and other socialists – held a celebration. the community would turn out in full force, dressed in their best clothes, and pack the hall, sometimes spilling out into the street. they would generally begin by sitting down to a banquet, followed by a musical program that would lead into dancing until the late hours of the night. the event would be held in a hall as close as possible to the official center of the jewish community, the synagogue.

the yom kippur ball drifted out of common practice as the first half of the twentieth century waned. radical jews’ inclination to confront the religious authorities declined as those authorities wielded less and less practical power; their impulse to acknowledge the date of atonement for halakhic transgressions declined as the secular jewish culture they created grew stronger. so why, every year at about this time, do i – three generations of secular radical jewish life past that era – have an urge to throw a really rowdy party?


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