Thursday, September 28, 2017

Day of At-One-Ment

The purpose of this blog is to bring some clarity to the Shabbat pre- or post-Yom Kippur table. Please like it, tweet it, forward it or ....  print and share?

Jewish Spiritual GrowthHappy New Year!

On Wednesday I took my car for its state emissions testing.

There was a rather simple notice at the testing station:
The VEIP will be
on Saturday
September 30
State holiday

I could not think of a state holiday that occurred between Labor Day and Columbus Day.

A quick check of the state website shows my memory to be correct.

But the attendant, Roger, is of the opinion that it is in honor of Yom Kippur.

How do you feel about that? I asked him.

Pretty happy! he said.

You're welcome! I said.

Roger smiled.

So the Day of Atonement brought you, me and Roger together, momentarily.

Is that the meaning of atonement?

Try sharing this week's title with your pre- or post-YK table and ask them if they believe that this indeed the etymology of atonement. Or is it just meant to be clever or cute?

After you take a vote, let them know that...

In fact, it's the actual etymology.

Maybe I should just stop there, say "Good Yom Kippur" and sign off.

But let's take this a little deeper.

Next question for your table: What does atonement have to do with being "at one"?

And after they answer that, try this: Is there any sin or crime that is so terrible that atonement is impossible?

According to Harvard University there is.

Here's the gist of it:
Michelle Jones was released last month after serving more than two decades in an Indiana prison for the murder of her 4-year-old son. The very next day, she arrived at New York University, a promising Ph.D. student in American studies.

In a breathtaking feat of rehabilitation, Ms. Jones, now 45, became a published scholar of American history while behind bars, and presented her work by videoconference to historians’ conclaves and the Indiana General Assembly. With no internet access and a prison library that hewed toward romance novels, she led a team of inmates that pored through reams of photocopied documents from the Indiana State Archives to produce the Indiana Historical Society’s best research project last year. As prisoner No. 970554, Ms. Jones also wrote several dance compositions and historical plays, one of which is slated to open at an Indianapolis theater in December.

N.Y.U. was one of several top schools that recruited her for their doctoral programs. She was also among 18 selected from more than 300 applicants to Harvard University’s history program. But in a rare override of a department’s authority to choose its graduate students, Harvard’s top brass overturned Ms. Jones’s admission after some professors raised concerns that she played down her crime in the application process.
While anyone with even half a heart would be highly sympathetic to Ms. Jones - and rooting for her - is it possible Harvard got it right?

Chag Sameach - a good Yom Kippur to you and yours

PS - Quick YK primer:

It is customary to increase 3 things from Rosh Hashana to Yom Kippur:

Tefila - prayer. That's the one .
Teshuva - regretting and fixing. Saying I'm sorry to everyone whom you have possibly hurt, including hurting their feelings. When in doubt, apologize. Yes, Colbert got it right, even over the phone.
Tzedaka - increasing one's tzeddaka between Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur.

If you would like to make a tax-deductible tzeddaka donation to support this weekly email among our other programs, please visit Become a JSL supporter - or renew your support - and know that you are helping us foster a paradigm-shift in Jewish education around the world.

Enjoyed this Table Talk? Vote with your fingers! Like it, tweet it, forward it....

No comments: