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Reflection and Forgiveness: Yom Kippur

The most solemn day on the Jewish calendar, the "Day of Atonement" begins Friday at sundown.

Yom Kippur, the most solemn day of the Jewish calendar, begins Friday night (10 Tishrei in the year 5772) at sunset.

Many Long Island businesses close early Friday and will remain closed through Saturday. Nine additional Long Island Rail Road trains will be added from Penn Station on Friday afternoon, including three on the Port Jefferson branch that runs through Hicksville, Syosset and Huntington and two on the Port Washington branch.

Like many area congregations, Rabbi Michael Churgel will speak of Israel and the community's responsibility to that nation which Jews believe is the land promised to them by G-d.

That will lead Churgel to a larger message of taking responsibility:

"Too often we point fingers and deflect blame from ourselves onto others," said Churgel, the spiritual leader of the Temple Beth Elohim in Old Bethpage, which just recently offered its social hall as a temporary home to a displaced Plainview Sikh community.

"During this season, all of us need to reflect upon how we can own up to our responsibilities and not pass the buck," the rabbi said. "We need to be better: Better citizens of the world, better supporters of Israel, better members of our respective communities, better Jews and congregants of our synagogues, and better family members."

Yom Kippur, the "Day of Atonement," is an intense day-long experience of repentance (Teshuvah) fasting and prayer designed to make peace with others and find reconciliation with G-d. By Jewish tradition it is also the day when G-d decides the fate of each human being.

"Yom Kippur is about turning back to G-d, seeking greater meaning in life and finding the inner means to repair our broken relationships with others," said Rabbi Irwin A. Zeplowitz, the spiritual leader of The Community Synagogue in Port Washington.

"It is a day to envision ourselves at our best, which is why my sermons will be related to the Hebrew phrase lu yehi, which means "let it be," Rabbi Zeplowitz said.

Because of the high demand, synagogues generally require tickets in advance for the services held on the first night of Yom Kippur. But many offer second-day services on Saturday for families and the community at large. See our complete listing of Plainview-area community services here.

We at Patch wish our readers "Tzom Kal," Hebrew for "Easy Fast."

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