Jewish students prepare to observe Yom Kippur

Tonight at Sunset, Jewish students at the University of Miami will get ready to observe the most sacred and important holiday on the Jewish calendar, Yom Kippur.

Yom Kippur is known as the “Day of Atonement,” a day when Jews ask God to forgive them for the sins they have committed in the past year. In order to gain forgiveness, Jews will fast for 25 hours beginning at sunset. Jews observing the holiday will not wear leather shoes or attend class and instead, attend services.

According to Rabbi Mendy Fellig, leader of UM Chabad and the representative of the Chabad-Lubavitch movement at the university, “there’s not a holier day on the Jewish calendar.” For the holiday, many Jewsih students on campus will either go home to observe the holiday or seek out Yom Kippur service on campus. Based on an estimated statistic from Reform Judaism Magazine, there are approximately 1,600 Jewish undergraduate students and 1,500 Jewish graduate students at the University of Miami.

For those students who will be observing the holiday on campus, the Chabad House will be offering services that welcome all students. Chabad’s goal is to make Jewish students comfortable regardless of their religious level of observancy.

Student’s who attend the Yom Kippur service will be able to “go at their own speed,” according to Rabbi Fellig. Services will be conducted in both English and Hebrew. This will help those students who do not have knowledge of Hebrew “to take the time and relate to what they are praying,” Rabbi Fellig said.

Jewish students of all backgrounds will be welcomed at the Chabad services. Rabbi Mendy explains that the services are traditional and “every step of the service is explained.”

Services will take place at the Holiday Inn, located at 1350 South Dixie Highway (US-1), which across the street from campus. They will begin tonight for what is called Kol Nidrei, at 6:45 PM. Services will continue throughout tomorrow beginning at 10:00 a.m, and end with the service of Ne’illah, which begins at 6:15 p.m, concluding with the sounding of the “Shofar,” a Ram’s horn used as an instrument.

At the conclusion of the services there will be a break fast with bagels and cake for all the students to enjoy. At last years service there were about one hundred University of Miami students in attendance. Rabbi Fellig welcomes everyone to join him and no reservations are necessary.

Students who want to learn more about Yom Kippur can visit or call Rabbi Mendy Fellig at 305-206-4013.