A Yom Kippur Repentance


I spent all Tuesday mornng trying to find the right prayer to share here today when finally this came up, and it was perfect. It spoke to me in a way that the temple prayer didn’t, and so I’m sharing it with you here, and I will be reciting this sometime this morning along with my other prayer time.

I hope it gives you comfort as well, and for those observing, an easy fast.

Ashamnu: My Alphabet of Failings

For the sin of anger against those who challenge me
And for the sin of belittling those I don’t understand
For the sin of criticizing without caring
And for the sin of doubting the strength of love
For the sin of enjoying what I shouldn’t have
And for the sin of purposefully finding fault
For the sin of greed when I have so much
And for the sin of harboring resentment
For the sin of needlessly imagining problems
And for the sin of joking to avoid a truth

For all these sins, oh God of forgiveness,
Forgive me, pardon me, grant me atonement.

For the sin of kindness too often withheld
And for the sin of loving in measured touches
For the sin of malice toward those who are richer
And for the sin of nourishing my worst intentions
For the sin of observing when I could be helping
And for the sin of pretending I am less than I am
For the sin of quitting when I still have fight
And for the sin of not resting when I am exhausted
For the sin of saying it doesn’t matter
And for the sin of thinking they can read my mind.

For all these sins, oh God of forgiveness,
Forgive me, pardon me, grant me atonement.

For the sin of not cutting the umbilical cord
And for the sin of not visiting my parents enough
For the sin of not weeping, to prove my strength
And for the sin of never forgiving my ex
For the sin of yearning to alter time
And for the sin of repenting at the zero hour.

For all these sins, oh God of forgiveness,
Forgive me, pardon me, grant me atonement.

Written and shared on the blog of Reform Judaism dot org by:

Jan Sokoloff Harness is an active volunteer at Congregation Beth Torah in Overland Park, KS. She is an award-winning writer, the Chief Creative Instigator for Sokoloff Harness Communications LLC and the author of the ebook Creative Chai.

September – Back to School – Reflection


​It’s not so much the month of September that I love but what it brings combined with the back to school season. While October is my favorite month (more on that tomorrow), ultimately this is my favorite time of the year from September and Back to School until the end of the year. I find it more of a renewal time of year than the January new year or spring when we all come out of our winter cocoons and spring clean.

We have a much more focused energy on fall cleaning, getting ready for the rest of the year. Clearing out the clutter for homework spaces and new school supplies (one of my weaknesses), earlier dinner and groceries in the house, bath schedules, physical, but also mental space.

It’s time to settle down and ease into our semi-hibernation.

We’re also getting ready for the holidays. Getting it clean and straightened and maintaining it for the myriad of family gatherings that are happening between now and the end of the year. Our outside gets decorated for Halloween with pumpkins and caution tape, spiders and witches. We move our decorating talents inside for Thanksgiving. Cornucopias, squashes, oranges and browns, table runners and lap blankets. Fall is applepicking, apple pie, chutney, tarts, or just a cold, crispy snap of an apple in the orchard.

I always find the Jewish New Year a time to reflect, think, and read. No work means settling down with a cup of tea, a buttered slice of challah and a pile of books. Yom Kippur brings the fasting and the prayer; time to atone and forgive; asking for forgiveness and offering it. Forgiving ourselves.

For us politicos, especially this year, we’re gearing up for an election, getting out the vote, promoting our candidates and our values.

School supplies, the Hogwarts Express, leaves changing colors and falling gently to the browning grass, Christmas card lists, buying stamps, printing return address labels, designing Halloween costumes and cosplays, Thanksgiving shopping and organizing recipe cards.

If we could carry fall with us all year, the world (and our worlds) would be a better place.

Yom Kippur


I kind of failed Rosh Hashanah this year. I mean it’s still my responsibility to model for my kids and teach them how to observe. I feel as though I’m failing them in this area. I am also not ready to give up all of my traditions, and Yom Kippur is one of those thoughtful observances that gives you a mandatory stop and take inventory of where you are, where you’ve been, and we’re you’re going.

Yom Kippur is a little different today. For me, it’s less about what you can’t do, but what you can; what you do.

Fasting isn’t the absence of food; it is the presence of G-d as reminder of not only my failings of the past year, but also where I’ve succeeded.

Lighting candles for my parents. The reminder of where I’ve come from, how much I miss the every day, and it tells them that they are not forgotten. I’ve thought of including Brittany this year, but I will see how I feel when the time comes tonight.

Not working. No writing has always driven me crazy, but it has also afforded me the opportunity to slow down and think; to meditate. I am “forced” to something else.

My usual Yom Kippur activity is reading. Harry Potter was one of my Jewish holiday books and look at all my life has changed because of that beginning of that New Year. Overall, wonderful things from deep friendship to finding parts of me and knowing that are still parts missing; left to find.

This year’s book is Jesus: A Pilgrimage by James Martin. I know, an unusual choice for Yom Kippur. I’ve wanted to read it for some time. It was a gift from my godmother, and I look at the spine nearly every day and thinking I don’t have the time, I go back to my Kindle.

Yom Kippur will give me the time.

It is a whole day where I can read, pray, meditate, pray the rosary, light candles and no one questions the whys or the wherefores.

It is the one day out of the year where I don’t have to explain my actions.

It simply is.

Why are you….?

Because it’s Yom Kippur.

The simplicity of not apologizing for who I am or who I am becoming is part of my day’s meditation.

I do ask guidance and forgiveness for those I’ve wronged even with the best of intentions. Enlighten me how I can do better and I will do my best to try.

I will let my faith continue to guide me.

I will question what I don’t understand.

I will defend the wronged.

I will be the friend I’m supposed to be.

I will be the person I’m supposed to be.