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Yom Kippur

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Girl Blowing Shofar

The Harm of Tshuvah: A Letter from an Abuse Survivor

by Rachel Silverman

People view forgiveness as the secret to healing, as if it isn’t a long painful process of flashbacks, relapsing, shame, medication, and therapy, as if there’s some easy way to heal that I have been too prideful to consider. To view forgiveness as the apex of survivors’ progress trivializes each person’s individual struggle.

Ray Frank

“In a Place Where There Are No Men”

by Leah Berkowitz

The 21st century in general, and this season in particular, is a high stakes time in the congregational rabbinate. Taking a break from my annual scramble to produce four 20-minute sermons that will change the course of history (that’s really what it feels like), I had the opportunity to re-read some High Holy Day words that actually did change the course of history.

Topics: Yom Kippur

Ray Frank's Yom Kippur Sermon, 1890

Read the 1890 Yom Kippur sermon by Ray Frank, the first Jewish woman to preach formally from a pulpit, and consider what unites and divides the Jewish people both historically and today.

Ray Frank Litman, 1923, Cropped

Icons for the New Year: Ray Frank

by Tara Metal

While seeking stories of transformation this holiday season, most of the tales that have caught my attention involved women who exchanged quiet domestic lives for active involvement in the public sphere. Ray Frank did the opposite: she swapped her life as a trailblazing Jewish leader for one away from the spotlight.

Magda Altman Schaloum

Holocaust survivor Magda Altman Schaloum speaks out on behalf of all Holocaust survivors and their families. Born and raised in Hungary, she endured acts of antisemitism throughout her childhood, and in 1944 and 1945 Magda was sent to several concentration camps. She lost both her parents and her brother. Magda met her husband, Isaac Schaloum, in a Displaced Persons Camp in Germany. Isaac was from Salonika, Greece. They emigrated to Seattle in 1950, where Isaac became a tailor and businessman, and they raised three children. Although of Hungarian descent, Magda became an active and beloved member of Seattle’s Sephardic community. She volunteers for many Jewish organizations, including the Washington State Holocaust Education Resource Center, and continues to bear witness to the horrors of hatred and antisemitism.

Erica Concors

What’s in a name? Finding Solidarity in a Young Jew’s Herstory

by  Erica Concors

Yesterday, as Yom Kippur approached, social justice organizers and progressive Jews gathered in downtown Boston to not only "remember" often underseen and undervalued laborers but also to stand in solidarity with the current labor struggles of our day. Here is Erica Concors', one committed organizer's, powerful speech. 

Iraqi Almond Milk

Eating Jewish: Breaking fast with Iraqi almond milk

by  Katherine Romanow

For most of us, the break fast meal following Yom Kippur evokes images of bagels and cream cheese, coffee cake, blintzes and noodle kugel.

Topics: Food, Recipes, Yom Kippur
Sephardic Fish with Tomato Sauce

Eating Jewish: Get ready to fast with Sephardic fish in tomato sauce

by  Katherine Romanow

Even before Rosh Hashanah was over this year, my mind turned to what I should make for Yom Kippur.

Topics: Food, Recipes, Yom Kippur

A Gender-Free Yom Kippur

by From the Rib

I wanted to write this post about women and Yom Kippur, as I often have done for other Jewish holidays, on topics such as what roles women should play during the holiday, stories about women associated with the holiday, etc. But I searched, and was kind of surprised that I found nothing in particular to write about.

Eating Jewish: Almond Sponge Cake, to break the fast

by  Katherine Romanow

The meal that breaks the fast of Yom Kippur is one that is needed to revive the body after a long day of reflection and repentance, and the food which one eats to break the fast is an important consideration. The meal that is served after the fast should consist of dishes that are light on the stomach and easy to digest after this long period without food. Every community has their own traditions concerning the food that is usually served at this meal. Within the Ashkenazi community the fast may be broken with a dairy meal including things such as bagels and cream cheese or coffee cake.

Topics: Food, Recipes, Yom Kippur

Those "Twice a Year" Jews

by  Leah Berkenwald

In the space between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, we are inundated with messages about self-reflection, our responsibilities as Jews in the world, and our level of involvement with Jewish life.

Eating Jewish: Rice with Chicken - a pre-fast meal

by  Katherine Romanow

After the celebration of the New Year and feasting on the many foods that make up a central part of its celebration, comes Yom Kippur and the time to fast. Despite the fact that this day is concerned with the abstention from eating, food still plays an important role in the observance of this holiday. One needs to fortify themselves with the proper food prior to the beginning of the fast in order to help sustain themselves through the day. Ideally foods should be filling and those that are salty or spicy are usually avoided so as not to cause excessive thirst.

Topics: Food, Recipes, Yom Kippur

Lessons from "A Lay Sermon by a Young Lady"

by  Leah Berkenwald

One hundred and twenty years ago today, Ray Frank delivered a historic sermon on what was the first night of Rosh Hashanah in Spokane, Washington. Ray Frank, featured in JWA's Women of Valor exhibit, is one of those "complicated" heroines.

The Spiritual and the Material: Wealth and Stereotypes on the High Holidays

by  Leora Jackson

I just came home from a trip to my local suburban mall with two friends from elementary school. The mall is looking good – the walls are an upscale beige accented with stained wood, and new stores like Coach and BCBG emphasize that those who shop here must have ample money to spend. The mall is clearly marked as Jewish, too, with shoppers wearing long skirts, kippas, or less modest clothing adorned with Jewish symbols and summer camp logos.

Festivals and Holy Days

This essay describes in general terms central ordinances and customary practices regarding women’s observance of the festivals and holy days of the Jewish calendar as recorded in the Shulhan Arukh and other The legal corpus of Jewish laws and observances as prescribed in the Torah and interpreted by rabbinic authorities, beginning with those of the Mishnah and Talmud.halakhic sources.

Conversas

The forced conversions of the Jews in Spain that occurred in 1391 changed the face of Spanish Jewry as well as of Spanish history. The random attacks on Jewish communities throughout the country resulted in destruction of property, loss of life and general havoc. Whereas there had previously been Jews and Catholics, now there were Jews, Catholics and converts or conversos. Some of the converts continued to live a Jewish life to the best of their abilities, despite the fact that they now had to attend church and abide by its dogma. Others opted to live as Christians in the hope that new opportunities would await them. Yet others wavered between the two religious lifestyles or opted to follow neither. During the first half of the fifteenth century, the original group of conversos was joined by disillusioned Jews who chose to convert and others who were persuaded to do so in the wake of the rigged Disputation of Tortosa (1413–1414). In the long run, the converso population changed tremendously after nearly a third of the total remaining Jewish population chose to convert in 1492 rather than to face exile. In other words, by the end of the fifteenth century the converso community included descendants of the original forced converts of 1391, descendants of voluntary converts, Jews who chose to remain in Spain as Catholics and even some exiles who returned home within seven years of the fateful decree.

Sarah Bas Tovim

Sarah bas Tovim (Sore bas toyvim), daughter of Mordecai (or daughter of Isaac or Jacob, as sometimes listed on the title pages of various editions of her works), of Satanov in Podolia, in present-day Ukraine, great-granddaughter of Rabbi Mordecai of Brisk (on this, all editions agree), became the emblematic tkhine [q.v.] author, and one of her works, Shloyshe sheorim, perhaps the most beloved of all tkhines.

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