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Embrace the Paradox and Rejoice!

Last night, we concluded the feast of Yom Kippur where Jews throughout the world “afflicted” their souls. However, most kids in Israel look at Yom Kippur as “ride your bikes in the streets day!”  You see, Yom Kippur in Israel is the one day when TV and radio stations are completely shut down and the streets are almost completely void of vehicles of any kind. Ironically, some of the only fully operational locations in Israel on Yom Kippur are the hospital emergency rooms – since kids who finally have no restraints on their bikes, skateboards, and roller skates tend to take risks they wouldn't normally take – it's Yom Kippur – they have the streets to themselves!

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Take Us Into the Holy of Holies!

Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement is upon us. Beginning tomorrow evening, Yom Kippur marks the holiest of all holy days on the Hebrew calendar. It is the anniversary of the fall of man and it is the climax of the time of Teshuvah (repentance). Starting tonight night and into Saturday, all around the world, the religious will fast from food and water and read prayers in the synagogue, as will the majority of traditional Jews.

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You're in the midst of the Days of Awe!

From Rosh HaShanah to Yom Kippur there are ten days. The Lord gave these days to Israel to prepare for His judgment. They became known as the Yamim Noraim – the "Days of Awe". It has been long believed that during these days one's final destiny was sealed concerning the Book of Life, God's eternal Book of Judgment. Thus every year the Jewish people have observed these days with great reverence and repentance so to be right with God and with men.

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Approach the Season for Repentance!

The Hebrew calendar month of Elul began on Sunday night. Each day during the month of Elul, a shofar blast is sounded to announce the coming month of Tishrei – wherein the festival of Yom Teruah – the feast of trumpets-- takes place, calling for all people to repent. Elul, therefore, is identified as a month during which a serious emphasis is placed on personal self-examination and repentance, an end-of-the-year opportunity to set our lives in order before Yom Teruah (Rosh Hashana), the Days of Awe, and finally, Yom Kippur.

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