LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ/Press Release) – With the Holiest day of the Jewish year approaching and COVID-19 creating difficulties for many in joining a traditional synagogue service, Chabad of the Bluegrass will hold outdoor Yom Kippur service, open and free to all Jewish Kentuckians, no membership required.
Beginning this year at sundown on September 27 and continuing on September 28 until nightfall, 10 days after the Jewish New Year of Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur is the day when God forgives all of the Jewish people’s sins, both as individuals and as communities.
By the same token, Jews around the world will spend the day in prayer — atoning for their sins, thanking God for his forgiveness, and focusing on self-improvement for the year to come. Because of the day’s importance, Jews focus on prayer so much that they do not eat, drink, or do work.
Services will include the Kol Nidrei, the prayer which ushers in the holy day of Yom Kippur, is perhaps the most famous one in Jewish liturgy. Kol Nidrei will be recited, on Sunday, September 27 at 7:15 pm.
The evening service which follows Kol Nidre consists of the Shema, the Amidah, the Al-Cheit confession of sins, and special additional prayers (piyyutim) which are said only on the night of Yom Kippur.
The Central service of Yom Kippur will be the Yizkor Memorial service. Recited by community members who have experienced the death (G-d forbid) of a parent, sibling, spouse or child, Yizkor gives space to remember one’s loved ones communally on a day that emphasizes communal unity and personal growth.
This year, Yizkor will also include a prayer for all those lost this year to the Covid-19 Pandemic, including over 1,200 members of the American Jewish community.
Rabbi Shlomo Litvin will lead Yizkor at Chabad’s Open Aired Sanctuary from 12 from 1230 on September 28th, which is Yom Kippur morning. All community members who wish to attend Yizkor are welcome to join the community in remembering their loved ones.
Yom Kippur services will conclude September 28th, at 7:00 pm, with the Neilla Prayer, Neilla is the worldwide Jewish community’s last chance to be “sealed in the proverbial Book of Life,” and many of its prayers invoke martyrs throughout Jewish history, with the hope that G-d will judge the community favorably in light of the dedication that these martyrs had to their religion and people. The service includes the Avinu Malkeinu (Our Father, our King) prayer, and ends with a final blast of the shofar that also signifies the conclusion of Yom Kippur.
“The community’s main goal during Neilah is to be sealed in the Book of Life for the coming year — to have a life filled with health, happiness, and a meaningful relationship with G-d,” said Shoshi Litvin, Program Director at Chabad of the Bluegrass. “It’s the final moment to connect with G-d as a child would with their parents, and pray for ourselves and the world.”
For decades, Chabad-Lubavitch, an international Jewish organization that firmly believes Jewish traditions and customs is a birthright of every Jew and that every Jew should have access to them, has made High Holiday services available free of charge, a model other synagogues and organizations around the world are now looking at to replicate.
“The Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson, my personal Mentor, and the most influential rabbi in modern history, believed that Judaism should be made accessible to all Jews even those not attending synagogue,” Rabbi Shlomo Litvin explained. “Chabad has always prioritized making Judaism available to all. During the COVID-19 pandemic, this has taken on a whole new meaning, but our mission to serve everyone remains the same.”
To reserve a spot at no cost, contact Chabad at (859) 813-0770 or Chabadofthebluegrass.com