The Jewish High Holy Days are here. The local Jewish community, Temple of Beth Emeth, celebrated Rosh Hashana Sept. 20 with services at the Sherman temple, and the celebration will continue with services Friday and Saturday at the temple located at 306 N. Rusk Street.
The Yom Kippur evening service, Kol Nidre will be held at 8 p.m. Friday and additional services will be held at 10 a.m., 3 p.m., and 6 p.m. Saturday.
“Services at the temple this year will be the same, but also different,” Temple of Beth Emeth President Andy Faber said. “We will say the same prayers, and we will use the same prayer book. This year, we will have a different rabbi, though. The sermons we have are based on the portion of the Torah that we will use during the service. The rabbi will take the sermon and relate it to what is going on in the world today. Since we have a different rabbi this year, the message we get may be a little different.”
These Holy Days are the most reverent Jewish holidays of the year, Faber said.
“Friday evening until Saturday evening are known as the Day of Atonement,” he said. “These are extremely important days. During this time, it is all about straightening up and flying right. The days between Rosh Hashana and the Jewish New Year, Yom Kippur, are called the Days of Awe. It’s the time of reflection. We want to think about how we can give more, provide more charity to the world, and do more in our everyday lives.”
Faber said these are the holidays that the temple sees the most people.
“The doors of Temple of Beth Emeth are always open to people that would like to take part in our services,” he said. “People often think that our services are closed off, but they are not. We have the same five books of Moses that Christians use. We have the same Ten Commandments. People come to our services and visit and realize that we have a lot more in common than we have differences.”
Rabbi Steve Fisch conducted the services at the Temple of Beth Emeth last week and will conduct the services Friday and Saturday.
“Yom Kippur is the moment in Jewish time when we dedicate our mind, body, and soul to reconciliation with our fellow human beings, ourselves, and God,” he said in a news release. “We must turn first to those whom we have wronged, acknowledging the pain we might have caused and resolving to change our behavior to exclude these behaviors in the future. At the same time, we must be willing to forgive and to let go of certain offenses and the feelings of resentment they provoked in us. On our journey, we are both seekers and givers of pardon.”
Roger Platizky will be attending services at the Temple of Beth Emeth Friday and Saturday.
“For observant Jews, Yom Kippur is also a time when we are consigned either to the Book of Life or Death in the coming year,” he said. “During this holiday, the doors of heaven are temporarily opened to us for penance and deep reflection.”
Platizky also said that during the Yom Kippur services commemorative prayers and tributes to people that died especially this year within the Jewish community or who are currently facing serious illnesses or other tribulations will be offered during a naming ritual, called “Yiskor.”
“During the holiday one reaffirms the ancient covenant between the Jewish people and God and prays forgiveness for the intentional and even unintentional sins — like those of arrogance, corruption, greed, envy, dishonesty, faithlessness, disloyalty, and anger,” he said. “The services and rituals bond the Jewish community together and also attempt to cleanse us of the kinds of mortal aggression and moral failings that could contribute either to domestic disharmony or war.”
The impact of Yom Kippur, Platizky said, is based on the individual.
“Just as it is hard to be a devout Buddhist, Muslim, or Christian in our secular and materialistic world — the world we have to live and compete in — it is difficult for a Jewish person to live up to the ideals and commandments of the Day of Atonement,” he said. “Still we try and this is a step I think in the right direction of striving to further humanize ourselves and as a result our national, ecological, and international communities.”