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  1. How to Make Yom Kippur Meaningful for Our Children

    Helping religious school students experience the richness of the Jewish holiday cycle is one of the great joys of Jewish education. Yom Kippur, however, is probably the most challenging holiday to explain meaningfully on a child's level. Void of an historical/political backdrop, Yom Kippur is a day full of abstractions which often elude adult understanding. What does it really mean for us to create a state of “purity?” What are the ways we need to work on our social relationships and the ways we need to clarify our relationship with God?

    https://archive.reconstructingjudaism.org/article/how-make-yom-kippur-meaningful-our-children

    Posted on: 2016/04/21 - 12:20pm

  2. Eleh Ezakara - Sacrifice and Martyrdom

    Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, is never an easy day. Fasting, however, is not the real problem. Rather, the day's challenge comes from its demand that we confront deep spiritual, theological, and philosophical issues we would often wish to avoid. We are asked to consider, for example: the tension between sin and forgiveness, the relationship between suffering and redemption, and the emergence of hope out of tragedy. The prayers and readings of Yom Kippur demand that we meditate on these themes as personal challenges, but present them to us in grand images on a mythic scale.

    https://archive.reconstructingjudaism.org/dvar-torah/eleh-ezakara-sacrifice-and-martyrdom

    Posted on: 2016/05/06 - 10:10am

  3. Future Prayer

    Isaiah 57:14-58:14

    Are these the words for the future prayer not yet in our mahzor, the one all the generations after us will recite?

    We heard the prophet say: “Prepare, prepare the road - clear away the stumbling blocks.” But instead, we have built walls across the roads to keep out those we fear.

    https://archive.reconstructingjudaism.org/dvar-torah/future-prayer

    Posted on: 2016/05/06 - 10:36am

  4. Can a Reconstructionist Sin?

    Some years ago, at an informal lunch shared by a number of us who worked for the same Jewish agency, a staffer indicated she had no need to attend Yom Kippur services. Predictably provoked, we asked why. Yom Kippur was all about sin, she replied, and since she never sinned, she had nothing for which to atone.

    https://archive.reconstructingjudaism.org/article/can-reconstructionist-sin

    Posted on: 2016/05/06 - 11:06am

  5. Teshuvah Study Sheet - Recon approach - Toba Spitzer

    A study sheet on the evolving concept of teshuvah over the ages. Rabbi Toba Spitzer notes that in preparing this sheet, she purposefully refrained (most of the time) from translating the word “teshuvah” because of the very different approaches of each text. After reading these, what is your definition?

    https://archive.reconstructingjudaism.org/document/teshuvah-reconstructionist-perspective

    Posted on: 2016/11/17 - 2:24pm

  6. Addressing Race as a Jewish Community

    Yom Kippur is a time when we confess our wrongdoings collectively, and is therefore an opportune moment in the Jewish calendar to reflect on how we can do teshuvah for the ways in which we have failed, communally and individually, to address the issue of racism.

    https://archive.reconstructingjudaism.org/sermon/addressing-race-jewish-community

    Posted on: 2017/08/16 - 3:08pm

  7. Yom Kippur at Lincoln Memorial

    (from God Loves the Stranger)

    Today is a day of repentance, renewal, and solidarity.

    Repentance in Hebrew is T’shuvah, which means turning and returning—making an about-face.

    It is a most treasured human gift.

    One who turns around and heads in the right direction Is respected and appreciated.

    Indeed, when we say that we are lost, it is often the beginning of the journey home.

    The Source of Life, the Divine Beloved, calls us to return, calls us to T’shuvah, again and again.

    https://archive.reconstructingjudaism.org/article/yom-kippur-lincoln-memorial

    Posted on: 2017/08/17 - 4:46pm