Humanistic Yom Kippur
For Humanistic Jews Yom Kippur is a time of continued reflection, a time to examine human behavior. History has taught human beings to rely on themselves for creating change in our society. Adapting the form of our meditations to the content of our message, Humanistic Jews make Yom Kippur a celebration of inner strength and a time of self-forgiveness. Yom Kippur has a special significance for Humanistic Jews. It is the culmination of our examination of our behavior begun on Rosh Hashana. Yom Kippur is a time to reflect on the moral quality of our values and behavior. Introspection and goal setting are traditional behaviors on the High Holidays. There are three key elements to the Humanistic and rabbinic liturgies for Yom Kippur: teshuva, tefilla, and tsedaka.
Teshuva is a Hebrew word, usually translated as "repentance", but which actually means return. For Humanistic Jews teshuva is the action of returning to our values and ideals, renewing our commitment to the highest standards of our ethics. Tefilla is traditionally translated as "prayer", but comes from a word that means self-reflection. For Humanistic Jews tefilla directs us toward self-evaluation. Tsedaka usually means ldquo;charity", but the deeper meaning tells about what kind of human beings we wish to be: tsadikim, or people who embody the highest ideals of the Jewish people.
Teshuva, tefilla, and tsedaka return to our ideals, self-reflection, and putting our ethics into action are the cornerstone of the Humanistic celebration of Yom Kippur.
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