High Holidays | Reconstructing Judaism
High Holidays

 

The Hebrew name given to the holidays of Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur is Yamim Nora'im, the Days of Awe. At the heart of our preparations for the Days of Awe is the concept of change and transformation. Jewish tradition understands that human beings are not perfect. We make mistakes that affect others as well as ourselves, but these errors of judgment, omission and commission need not remain with us forever. On Rosh Hashana, we celebrate life and the possibility of new beginnings. We affirm the freedom and responsibility we have to conduct our lives with decency and morality. On Yom Kippur, we focus on the mistakes we make when we fail to exercise our freedom with responsibility. We seek atonement and forgiveness for our mistakes, and we experience the fragility of life. We realize that we want to make a meaningful difference by the way we live our lives while we still can.1

 

  • 1. Adapted from A Guide to Jewish Practice, Volume 2—Shabbat and Holidays

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Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur are for many the most solemn and significant days on the Jewish calendar, the days when many more Jews gather for prayer than at any other time of the year. The Hebrew name given to these holidays is Yamim Nora’im, the Days of Awe.

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High Holidays
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