Here are some random Yom Kippur themed stories floating around the interwebs tody:
Toldot Yisrael presents the story of six Jewish heroes who defiantly blew the shofar at the Kotel (Western Wall) over sixty years ago, when it was illegal to do so in British Mandatory Palestine. The British passed a law in 1930 forbidding Jews to blow the shofar at the Kotel, pray loudly there, or bring Torah scrolls, so as not to offend the Arab population… Despite this restriction, for the next seventeen years, the shofar was sounded at the Kotel every Yom Kippur. Shofars were smuggled in to the Kotel where brave teenagers defiantly blew them at the conclusion of the fast. Some managed to get away – others were captured and sent to jail for up to six months.
Yom Kippur Break Fast as a big Jewy event? Good thing or bad thing? I don’t know. Read the article and tell me what you think:
But in recent years, the break-fast party has become part of the Jewish social calendar. From Los Angeles to Chicago to New York, many are attending large, crowded break-fasts, where the spirit of the High Holy Days can get lost in the mixing, and where the day’s solemnity quickly abates, smothered by large quantities of cream cheese and hummus… The most obvious virtue of the break-fast is the abundant gratitude for the food: the lox and whitefish. For Ms. Fishbein, the menu includes â€œcream of vegetable soup, my mother-in-law’s noodle kugel, and a panini station. But the tradition Ms. Newhouse considers â€œreally great, she says, â€œis breaking the fast on some kind of liquor. It’s better than any hallucinogenic drug. It’s a European tradition. It is the closest I have come to a mystical experience.
Celebrating Yom Kippur with a cheese burger and fries? Sacrilegious? Maybe. Thoughtful? Definitely:
For the last 18 years, my mother and I have spent Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the Jewish calendar, at Todâ€™s Point beach in Old Greenwich, Conn., near where I grew up and where my mother still lives. Iâ€™m a TV producer living in Brooklyn now, but I still go back every year. My mom reads my fatherâ€™s old prayer book while I order lunch for us from the greasy concession stand that stays open into the fall, double hamburgers with grilled onions and French fries… To those who fast during the holiday, our version of a High Holy Happy Meal might seem sacrilegious, but we didnâ€™t always spend it this way. We used to go to temple like everyone else. But when I was 17, my father, who had just turned 59 and had suffered from depression for many years, shot himself in the head. The police found his body two days later, on the eve of Yom Kippur.
How about Barbara Streisand singing Avinu Malkeinu?
On another note, even the ultra-Orthodox are rethinking the tradition of kapparot involving the slaughter of chickens. That’s a good thing right?
Rabbi Meir Hirsch began having second thoughts about the practice, known as kaparot, or atonement in Hebrew, when he noticed chickens squawking in distress in plastic cages near his house… Butchers “bring the chickens from the farm at night, and they spend all day in the sun without food or drink,” said Hirsch, a member of the Neturei Karta ultra-Orthodox sect in Jerusalem. “You cannot perform a commandment by committing a sin.”
Finally, tonight the Occupy Wall Street protests in New York (and also Washington, Los Angeles, Boston and Chicago and Toronto!!!) will host a Kol Nidre service organized by our old friend Dan Sieradski. So far 300 people have signed up and are planning to attend. I don’t care what you think of the Occupy Wall Street movement but kudos go out to Sieradski for organizing this event and having to deal with a small group of anti-Semitic nutters who are accusing him of, among other things, being an ultra-Nationalist Zionist (!!) trying to co-opt the movement for political purposes. Fuck that noise. Good on ya for getting 300 Jews to Kol Nidre. Read all about it on the JTA, Religion Dispatches, The Jewish Daily Forward and sign up on facebook. I hope Officer Tony Baloney and the NYPD think twice about attacking Occupy Wall Street tonight. You know how many Jewish lawyers there are in New York???
Anyhow, gotta bounce. Have a meaningful Yom Kippur and an easy fast – for those of you fasting!