Erev Yom Kippur Live
Erev Yom Kippur Live

Sunday, September 27; 9:30 AM-4:00 PM EDT




In ancient times, erev Yom Yippur (the day before) was a mini-holiday in its own right, known as Ma'al - derived from the Aramaic word for “erev”. This was an important day when people asked each other for forgiveness. It is found in the Talmud numerous times, including a poignant story about the great sage Rav asking Rabbi Hanina for forgiveness on Erev Yom Kippur 13 times (Yoma 87b). Jewish communities in Algeria, Tunisia and Libya, continued to refer to erev Yom Kippur by this name until recently.


Since our actual Yom Kippur this year will be like no other, we have an opportunity to revive the power of the day before. Prepare spiritually, emotionally, and intellectually for the holiday by learning about the themes and prayers of the day, enjoying soulful melodies and excerpts from Yom Kippur liturgy, and engaging in longstanding erev Yom Kippur traditions like making a yahrzeit candle and reciting prayers for loved ones. Join for the whole day or tune in for part!






9:30 AM - 9:55 AM: Introducing the Day: What is Yom ha-Ma’al?; And Opening Song

Rabbi Elie Kaunfer and Rabbi Na’amah Levitz Applebaum


10:00 AM - 10:50 AM: Out of the Depths, I Cry To You

Rabbi Avi Strausberg

In this session, we'll focus on a drasha from the Aish Kodesh written for Shabbat Shuva in September 1941. Written in a time of great darkness and despair, Rabbi Shapira writes about the importance of a single human life and the relationship between the davener and the Holy One.  We'll turn to his writings to ask questions like, "What is the relationship between an individual and the community" and "How does one pray when overcome with the deepest despair?"


11:00 AM - 11:50 AM: Early Yizkor Rituals: Memory, Meaning and Candle-Making

Rabbi Aviva Richman

The Yom Kippur Yizkor service is an opportunity to honor and remember the lives of those who have died, to ensure that no one is forgotten. This year, in the wake of overwhelming loss, we will turn to an Eastern European women's ritual of hand-making yizkor candles and imbuing them with the names of loved ones. Together we will study the theology and poetry of traditional yiddish prayers associated with this ritual, and then put it into practice. With each dip of the wick into wax, we will recite names of people we have lost - relatives, community members, essential workers, and those who have none to mourn them - and the light of these candles, and these lives, accompanies our prayers throughout Yom Kippur. Join to listen, or gather your own supplies and make your own candle at the same time.


12:00 PM - 12:30 PM: Carrying Guilt, Carrying Goats: Loneliness and Community on Yom Kippur

Avigayil Halpern, Hadar Kollel

For many, this year’s Yom Kippur will be defined by being alone. But perhaps this Yom Kippur loneliness isn’t entirely unprecedented: in this shiur, we'll study texts that describe the experience of the person whose role it was to escort the designated scapegoat out to the wilderness as part of the Yom Kippur Temple ritual. We'll explore this experience as a potential model for a Yom Kippur that is lonely but still rooted in community.


12:35 PM - 1:05 PM: Mareh Kohen: Observing the Avodah 

Jamie Weisbach, Hadar Kollel

This year, many of us are entering Yom Kippur preparing to experience only parts of the full service we're used to - but this experience actually might place us closer to what it was like viewing the Avodah in the Temple than we realize. What was the ordinary observer’s perspective on and experience of the Temple rituals on Yom Kippur? In this class, we'll explore Mishnayot from tractate Yoma that describe the actual viewing experience of most of the Jewish people on Yom Kippur in the time of the Temple  and try to understand how much of the Avodah could any one person actually witness on that day? 


1:10 PM - 1:50 PM: Finding Joy in Forgiveness: A Teshuvah Workshop

Yitzhak Bronstein

We will study a text from Rebbe Nachman of Breslov which speaks to the importance of approaching teshuvah from a place of simchah (joy). We will then put this teaching into practice by performing a teshuvah exercise together. Active participation will be encouraged.


2:00 PM - 2:50 PM: Confession on Yom Kippur – A Closer Look

Rabbi Elie Kaunfer

The vidui – the liturgical confession we recite in every service on Yom Kippur – is a core element of the day. What are its sources and metaphors? What are we confessing, and why? What is God’s role in confession? We will examine the texts that stand behind this essential part of the Yom Kippur experience.


3:00 PM - 3:30 PM: Beating our Chests, Finding our Hearts: A Creative Vidui Ritual 

Rabbi Avi Killip

The Vidui (Confession) ritual is at the center of each Yom Kippur service. Like so many other rituals that have been disrupted, this year’s vidui will be a very different experience than what we are used to. Join us for a creative meditation on the vidui ritual which will draw on the physical gesture of beating our chests to evoke new and different symbols for this year's experience of Yom Kippur.


3:30 PM - 3:50 PM: Minhah

Space for Individual Minhah


3:50 PM - 4:00 PM: Closing song