The most profound of the Jewish High Holy Days begins at sundown today in Greenwich.
It was the start of Yom Kippur, the day of atonement.
Yom Kippur, also called by many "the sabbath of sabbaths," and lasts until sundown Tommorrow. It is a universally solemn day of fasting, introspection and prayer. Food, drink and work are strictly forbidden.
Yom Kippur culminates through reflection the ten "Days of Awe" that began last week with the celebration of Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish new year, now 5769.
The observation of Yom Kippur is so significant to Jews that Israel is practically shut down for the day. When the Day of Atonement comes the atmosphere in Jerusalem changes completely. The Airport Is even shut down. Everything is extremely somber and quiet. There is no transportation. Nothing is open and the synagogues are full. People are truly trying to understand their sins.
I have heard that Galveston Jews who were devistated by Hurricane Ike, will have a service outdoors this year.
Yom Kippur is such a holy Jewish holiday, its observance is held even among the majority of secular Jews who may not observe other holidays. Many secular Jews will fast and attend synagogue on Yom Kippur, where the number of worshippers attending is often double or triple the normal attendance.
According to Jewish religious tradition, it is believed that God judges and writes the fate of each person into the Book of Life on Rosh Hashanah, and seals and closes it on Yom Kippur.
During this time, one owes up to sins, seeking forgiveness from God and other people. Those who repent during the 10 days of awe hope to be granted a good new year.
Now everyone knows why I have had some very ruff years in the past.
In addition to verbally apologizing for your sins via prayer, Greenwich Jews will fast for 24 hours on Yom Kippur to further atone for the less-than-savory things they’ve done during the past year.
Fasting began at sundown, during which Greenwich Jews attend a service called Kol Nidre, and it will end at sundown tommorrow (if you can last that long…it’s much harder than it seems).
I think we would do well to do what the Jewish people of Greenwich do through out the night and through the day tommorrow, to take a day aside to just search our hearts before God and let the Holy Spirit really look inside us and not doing our own introspection but being open to God's inspection.
I admit That I am not a certified financial expert. But I can't help but think about the effects of the struggling economy durring this sabbath of sabbaths. A recession or possible depression is not a bad time to re-evaluate how we spend our time and our resources.
If you think about it, in many ways, a recession is a lot like a fast. When we are in such a state of deprivation that we can most productively look into ourselves.
In this time of forclusures and home auctions in Greenwich maybe we should start to increase our Home Values.
Maybe we should focus on the moral and spiritual values inside their homes, not market values.
If you are hurting, go and speak with your spiritual advisor, if you don't have a spiritual advisor to speak to then I would like to invite you to come visit my church up on King Street. I have seen so many hurting families made whole in that church over the past year.
While I am the least worthy of Harvest Time Church congregants to represent the very good works that are going on in this church. However, I would like to say that with this economic tsunami, so many people in Greenwich are talking about the need to find comfort.
Please do not fall into self-doubt and self-loathing.
Perhaps, there are some in Greenwich who are becomming angry at God.
It's OK to be angry at God.
God is big enough to take it.
But we here in Greenwichg should be grateful for the good that we do have and try to have some perspective.
You can do a lot of praying, and a lot of actions, but it's important to put meaning behind it, to put your emotions and heart into it.
The creator made you in his image and he loves you very dearly.
So if you are facing tough times here in Greenwich and do not have a spiritual advisor to go to then I would invite you to to come to the church that I attend with my wife and turn things around by developing a fresh new and close relationship with your God.
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"On this day, Americans are reminded of the great blessings of religious freedom," said Former Greenwich Resident George W. Bush, "and the unalienable rights bestowed upon all people by the Creator of life."