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  • - Orthodox Jews pray at the Western Wall, in Jerusalem's Old City, during the Jewish holiday of Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, and the holiest of Jewish holidays. Photo: Ben Toren | Flash90
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Yom Kippur

Joanne Nihom - 15 September 2021

Wednesday, September 15, 2021 at sunset, Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement) starts and ends on Thursday evening at sunset. It is one of the most important days of the Jewish year. From sunset till dawn eating, drinking and working are not allowed.

“Yom Kippur is one of the most important days of the Jewish year”

On this holy day you try to come to terms with yourself, your fellow humans and G’d. There is a long service in the synagogue. As long as I can remember, I spend this day in the synagogue. It feels like a spiritual journey that is too short for me. Every year I think that I would like to do this every month. How different the world would look if all of us, every so often, would reflect for 24 hours on our deeds, the good ones and the bad ones.

If we just could stop the world as it were. A resting place in the hustle and bustle of the day. Realise for 24 hours what we are doing. Wars put on hold for a moment. No telephone, no TV, no newspapers. No food and no drinks. Total introspection. To be filled in by everyone in his or her own way.

“No telephone, no TV, no newspapers. No food and no drinks. Total introspection”

For some time, on Ben Gurion airport there has been an exhibition of large photographs with texts, along the wall to the departure lounge. It shows the many, many partnerships between Israelis and Palestinians. The texts provide hope. Anything is possible if you want it. Especially the opening line on the first sign always touches me deeply. It says in Hebrew, Arabic and English:

“Lucky We’re Similar, Lucky We’re Different.”

Reflection, repentance, regret, self-reflection, remorse.

Forgive and forget. Also the pain that was inflicted by someone else. Look ahead. I hope that the new year brings us what we all long for. Inner peace in ourselves and peace in the world.

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