Yom Kippur brings reflection, hope following Jewish New Year during ‘time of gathering’

Stock photo, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — With Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, being observed this last week, the Jewish community of Southern Utah and the world over is observing what are known as the Jewish High Holidays, or 10 Days of Awe, that will end with Yom Kippur.

Stock photo, St. George News

Also known as the Day of Atonement, Yom Kippur is considered to be the holiest day of the Jewish year and caps the 10 Days of Awe, which are a period of introspection and repentance that follows Rosh Hashanah, Rabbi Mendy Cohen, of the Chabad Center of Southern Utah, told St. George News.

This year Tom Kippur begins Tuesday evening and runs through Wednesday (Oct. 4-5).

“These 10 days are the days that God decides what will be for the coming year for the individual,” he said.

While it is held that God may pronounce a judgment on the individual on Rosh Hashanah, or Day of Atonement, it is not considered absolute until Yom Kippur.

“Jews (will) pack synagogues to pray for forgiveness for misdeeds, and G-d decrees what the year ahead will be like,” Cohen further stated in a press release. “Jews around the world will spend the day focused on prayer — atoning for their sins, thanking G-d for his forgiveness and focusing on self-improvement for the year to come — so much so that they do not eat, drink or work.”

During this time, a memorial prayer called a “yizkor” will be offered for loved ones who have died during the previous year.

“(This) is particularly poignant after two years marked by loss,” Cohen said, remarking on lives lost during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Also being observed during this year’s Yom Kippur is Hakhel, or Year of Gathering. The name itself is the Hebrew word for “gathering” or “assembling,” according to the Chabad press release.

Anciently, the time of gathering occurred once every seven years on the Jewish holiday of Sukkot. This would take place at the temple in Jerusalem where “the king read selections from the Torah to the huge crowd and the event inspired the nation to greater commitment to Jewish life and learning for the next seven years.”

Stock photo, St. George News

In the modern age, observance of Hakhel was restored by Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson whom the Chahad credits with leading Judaism’s post-Holocaust renaissance.

“The Rebbe called for the year of Hakhel to be a time for people to come together in unity,” Cohen said. “Synagogues, Jewish institutions and people at their homes will host communal gatherings to encourage Jewish observance and Torah study.

“On Yom Kippur morning, Southern Utah’s Jewish community will be gathering together to move ahead from the past year and honor their loved ones as a united community, and looking forward together into the upcoming year of unity.”

The Chabad Jewish Center is expecting a larger than usual turnout for Yom Kippur this year. In order to ensure members of the area’s Jewish community are able to attend, services will be free of charge and membership is not required.

Yom Kippur services will be held at the Red Lion Hotel in St. George at 850 S. Bluff St. in St. George on Oct. 4-5. Those planning to attend are asked to RSVP through the Chabad of Southern Utah website,

Visit the website or phone or email the Chabad Canter at 435-619-6630 or [email protected] for additional information.

About Chabad Jewish Center

The Chabad Jewish Center offers Jewish education, outreach and social-service programming for families and individuals of all ages, backgrounds and affiliations. For more information visit JewishSU.com

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2022, all rights reserved.

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