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Lewisboro Jews Prepare for Yom Kippur

SOUTH SALEM, N.Y. – The Jewish Family Congregation in South Salem will gather together beginning at sunset Friday night to mark Yom Kippur – known as the Day of Atonement – the religion’s most solemn holiday.

The holiday signifies the end of a 10-day period that follows Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, known as the Days of Awe.

“It is a more solemn and serious occasion,” said Jewish Family Congregation Rabbi Carla Friedman. “You don’t celebrate it; you observe it.”

Fasting from sundown on Friday to sundown on Saturday is obligatory for Jews over 13 years old.

“The caveat to that is if someone’s health is at risk,” Friedman said. “If your health is at risk, you are prohibited from fasting.”

Yom Kippur is observed with a series of services. For Jewish Family Congregation members, that begins with a Friday evening service at 8 p.m. known as Kol Nidre. On Saturday there is a service at 10 a.m. and a youth service at 10:30 a.m. At 2 p.m., there will be a service for Pre-K children. The day continues with a healing service at 3 p.m. and the concluding/memorial service at 4 p.m.

When Yom Kippur falls on the Jewish sabbath, as it does this year, extra prayers are added. In an interesting note, the only holiday considered more special than any sabbath is Yom Kippur.

“The healing service is new this year,” Friedman said. “There will be special prayers and music to allow people to pray for the health and well-being of themselves and others who they may be concerned about. We know a lot of people are looking for that opportunity. There will be some beautiful music and some very moving prayers.”

Tickets are required for all the services except the healing services and Friedman said that there are still some available.

After the concluding service, the fast is broken and Friedman said that juice and challah bread will be available.

Some of the highlights of the services include the Kol Nidre prayer.

“It’s a prayer with a haunting melody that is said three times,” the rabbi explained. “It’s a formal cancellation of vows we have made that were not fulfilled so we can ask forgiveness. It provides an opportunity to think about what we have done wrong and what we can do better.”

As in the Rosh Hashanah services, the shofar – the ram’s horn – is blown.

“The shofar is sounded at the very end of the concluding service,” Friedman said. “It’s not featured like it is for Rosh Hashanah.

Friedman said what makes the Jewish Family Congregation services really stand out is the music.

“Our cantor, Kerry Ben-David, and the choir, under the direction of Kathy Storfer, provide the most amazing music,” she said. “It is unquestionably the high point of the service.”

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Will you be observing Yom Kippur this year? Have you heard the music at Jewish Family Congregation services? Join the conversation. Leave your comments below.

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