Guide to Yom Kippur 2014

How to make this the most meaningful Yom Kippur ever!


  1. Why do we fast?  The Torah tells us, v’initem et nafshotechem—repress your instincts.  We often eat without thinking.  So we take one day and say, “You know what?  If I can go one day in my life without behaving automatically, then I can learn to control my instincts in any number of ways.”  THAT would be a great Yom Kippur!  Likewise, we refrain from perfumes, sexual relations, or overly beautifying ourselves.
  2. Apologizing?  Find one person this week to whom you can say I’m sorry.  An entry-mate, a neighbor, a family member.
  3. Change Yourself?  Make a secret note—write down one habit or action that you wish were not such a strong part of your life.  Resolve to work on that.  Put this note away somewhere where you’ll find it on Passover (half the year until next Y.K.)  See how you did.
  4. Who should fast?  Only people whose health permits are allowed to fast.  Not sure about yourself?  Fast for a while, and see how it goes.  Try half a day.  But DO NOT compromise your well-being. If you’re not well this year, there will be other years to fast.
  5. Sneak into shul?  Why sneak?  Some wear sneakers or other non-leather shoes on Yom Kippur, because we avoid luxuries, like leather shoes
  6. Meal Points for Tsedaka!  A)If you’re fasting, or B)if you’re going home for Yom Kippur, you can arrange to donate the value of your meal points to MAZON, the Jewish response to hunger.  Send a note to [email protected] with your student id. #.  Dining Services will record your donation and the money will be sent to Mazon.
  7. If it turns out to be Mountain Day on Friday, how can I climb the mountain and still be at services by 6:15?  Climb Stone Hill this year in the morning.  If you really need to climb to Stoney Ledge, you must leave by 3:00, in order to get the bus at Hopper that will leave by 4:30.
  8. Prayers on Saturday afternoon?  We take a break in the afternoon, usually around 1:30 or 2 o’clock.  At 3:00, join us from the JRC for a beautiful walk up to Stone Hill to enjoy a fall afternoon, accompanied by your favorite spiritual poetry to express your feelings on this day.  If you’d like to add a reading to our walk, please contact [email protected] so she know you’ll participate.  There will be a silent mediation service, beginning around 4:15.
  9. Almost done…
  10. Please join us in the Faculty House for Break-Fast, following services (around 7:30).
  11. Sukkot follows Yom Kippur.  At noon on Sunday, October 5, we will perform the miracle of building our Sukka outside the JRC.  Please come help hold board, tighten bolts, and give expert supervision!
  12. During Sukkot, bring food to eat in the Sukka.  Eat as many meals as you can there, and enjoy the beauty of Williamstown in the Fall!