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White Plains Rabbi Prepares for Yom Kippur

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. -- Rabbi Shmuel Greenberg said he’s been looking forward to marking Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the Jewish calendar, with the Young Israel of White Plains congregation this Friday.

“Yom Kippur will determine the fate of every person for the coming year, so there’s great trepidation. On the other hand, there is excitement. There is a sense of joy in reinvigorating oneself and reconnecting with God. You are not eating. You’re not drinking. You’re spending all day praying to God, so you’re connecting at a very spiritually high level,” said Greenberg.

Greenberg and most of the Orthodox congregation live close to the Old Mamaroneck Road synagogue so they can walk to the temple while observing the Jewish sabbath. Many in the community have been spending extra time praying and contemplating their past actions during the 10 days of repentance that lead up to Yom Kippur.

“The day of Yom Kippur is like the last day of the World Series. You have to have preparations. You can’t just walk in cold,” said Greenberg, who has been with the Young Israel of White Plains for 24 years.

Yom Kippur begins at sundown Friday with the chanting of the Kol Nidre. The phrase “kol nidre” means “all vows,” the text essentially declares that all vows made with God will be annulled if people fail to live up to them.

“Atonement doesn’t come easy. It’s a day of introspection. It’s a day of personal self-evaluation to see what we’ve done successful in life and things we’ve done wrong. We make a verbal confession of the things we’ve done wrong with the expectation that that will propel us to rectify and maximize our potential in the coming year,” Greenberg said of Yom Kippur.

Young Israel members, except for children, pregnant women or those who are ill, will begin fasting at sundown Friday. Yom Kippur will continue with multiple services Saturday until a ram’s horn or shofar is blown to signify the end of the ceremony when stars emerge Saturday night.

Will you be honoring Yom Kippur this weekend? Join the conversation below.

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