On Kol Nidre we begin the annual fast for Yom Kippur, our day of atonement. We collectively make a conscious decision to not eat or drink anything from sundown to sundown to repent for our sins. As we reflect on our imperfections, it is natural to scan our behavior and choices over the past year and think about the changes we want to make for the next year.
My favorite part of Yom Kippur is the rabbi's sermon, which somehow always brings tears to my eyes regardless of its topic. On Yom Kippur, we become vulnerable and are invited to step outside of our daily lives. For some of us who may not go to weekly Shabbat services, this may be the only time of the year that we surround ourselves by our tribe and hear the sounds of Hebrew prayer.
I write this blog because of my love for food, specifically Jewish food. But I also love the act of not eating on Yom Kippur. For me, it makes time seem to slow down. As Ferris Bueller once said, "Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it." Summers fly by and then we realize that there are only four months left on the calendar year. Yom Kippur allows us a moment to catch our breath.
I've been fasting for as long as I can remember, since even before my Bat Mitzvah. I was always intrigued by the tradition and thought that fasting would make me feel more like an adult.
That's my take on this day of spiritual cleansing. Here's what a few other people from the Philadelphia area have to say about it:
"Fasting allows me to separate this day from all other 364 days of the year. As someone who loves to eat — especially out — it makes me stop and think about my life and self reflect." — George Shotz, 33 of Society Hill
"No. 1, I think it is a constant reminder all day of the sins I am atoning for. Feeling hungry is powerful and it invades your head all day. No. 2, it makes me feel more observant and connects me to my Jewish identity, which I like to be reminded of. No. 3, because it feels like a clean slate for a new year." — Nicole Cohen, 31 of Cherry Hill
"When I fast on Yom Kippur, I feel a sense of oneness with all the Jews around the world." — Adam Oded, 45 of Northern Liberties
"The thing that I like the most about Yom Kippur is that I'm reminded to ask people for forgiveness for anything I may have knowingly or unknowingly said or done that could have offended them." — Zoe, 58 of White Marsh
Have an easy fast,
The Bubbi Project