Taking Yom Kippur Seriously

From Haaretz:

NEW YORK – “I did not need to ask for quiet during the long Musaf service on Yom Kippur,” the rabbi of a large Reform synagogue in Manhattan said yesterday. “The worshipers sat withdrawn inside themselves and they looked contemplative and worried.”

The rabbis of other large New York synagogues offered similar impressions of the Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur services. Most of these are well-known, long-established synagogues – mainly Reform, some Conservative and a few Orthodox. They are located in an area between 60th and 90th Streets that is known for its wealthy synagogues.

“People said the U’Netane Tokef prayer seriously this year,” said Rabbi Ammiel Hirsch of the Reform Movement’s Stephen Wise Free Synagogue on West 68th Street in Manhattan. “The words ‘who will be impoverished and who will be enriched,’ and ‘who will be laid low and who will be raised up’ resounded throughout the synagogue this year.”

And during the rabbis’ Yom Kippur sermons, the phrases Days of Awe, repentance, accounting for one’s acts all seemed to take on added significance in Manhattan synagogues.

The financial crisis and the stock market collapse clearly set the tone for Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur this year. Many of the worshipers at these synagogues are leading brokers and bankers at Wall Street’s most respected financial institutions. Others are known for the millions they made from their local businesses.

About Luke Ford

Raised a Seventh-Day Adventist at Avondale College in Australia, Luke Ford moved to California in 1977. He graduated from Placer High School in 1984, reported the news at KAHI/KHYL radio for three years, attended Sierra College and UCLA, was largely bedridden by Chronic Fatigue Syndrome for six years, and converted to Judaism in 1993. From 1997-2007, Luke made his living from blogging. Living by Beverly Hills (Alexander90210.com), he now teaches the Alexander Technique (moving the way the body likes to move). Lessons cost $100 each and last about 45 minutes. In 2011, Luke completed a three-year teaching course at the Alexander Training Institute of Los Angeles. His personal Alexander Technique website is Alexander90210.com. Luke is the author of five books, including: » The Producers: Profiles in Frustration » Yesterday’s News Tomorrow: Inside American Jewish Journalism
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