The first 10 days of Tishrei, consisting of Rosh Hashanah (two days), Yom Kippur and the days between them, is a favourable time to correct our shortcomings and come closer to G-d. In Hebrew these days are called Aseret Yemei Teshuva.
In Sweden these days are often referred to as the ten days of penitence. Tshuva really mean “reverting.” Judaism stresses that human nature is basically positive, in that the human soul contains a spark of divinity. True repentance is achieved not through strong self-criticism, but rather by the recognition that our hearts desire to do good deeds, in accordance with G-d’s will.
The day after Rosh Hashanah is called Tsom Gedalja. During this day, we may not eat or drink from three hours before sunrise to about 40 min after sunset. We do this for a commemoration of the tragic murder of Gedalja, a great leader in the time that followed after the first fall of the Temple. His death forced the Jews who remained in the land Israel into the Babylonian captivity.
The Sabbath between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur are called Shuva Shabat after a passage in the prophets that are read as the Haftara: “Return, O Israel …”
Read more on Chabad.org that has a good article on Yom Kippur.
NEWS FROM EGYPT
Last synagogue shuts down in Egypt
ALEXANDRIA. For the first time in 2,000 years, there will be no celebration of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur at Eliyahu Hanavi-synagogue in Alexandria, according to the Jewish Press. The synagogue has been forced to close for safety reasons, since the Muslim Brotherhood took power in the country earlier this year.
– “It seems this is really the end of Jewish life in Egypt. The authorities have found a way to take over the last Jewish bastion, since all the remaining synagogues are already archaeological and tourist sites. It is very sad.” says Levana Zamir, head of the International Association of Egyptian Jews in Israel. Read more
Source: Jewish Press, September 1, 2012.
© 2012 Jonathan Axelsson
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