September 13 – Yom Kippur

Posted on September 13, 2013

This evening the Jewish Day of Atonement begins. This is the holiest day of the year in Judaism, and it marks the end of the “High Holy Days” that began with Rosh Hashanah.

Atonement” is the process of gaining forgiveness for wrongs that one has done. In Judaism, it is important to take several steps toward atonement:

  • One must sincerely regret (feel bad about) the misdeed. This is called repentance.

  • One should admit the misdeed to others as well as to oneself (and, Jews believe to God). This is called confession.

  • One should try to right the wrong, fix the mistake, or in some other way make up for the misdeed. This is called restitution.

Even those of us who are not Jewish can take the time to consider our mistakes and misdeeds. Feeling bad about our mistakes and confessing that we were to blame are wonderful steps to take, but trying to fix things seems most important of all.

Restitution” is something that happens in the law as well as in religious contexts. A person who has stolen another's big-screen TV, for example, may pay the victim for the value of the TV as well as serve time in jail.

A U.S. citizen who was of
Japanese ancestry posted
this sign, "I am an American,"
over his business the day after
the attack of Pearl Harbor.

But he still lost his business
and was locked up in an
internment camp during the war.
Sometimes an entire society tries to do restitution to a wronged group. In 1988, the U.S. Congress passed the Civil Liberties Act, which was a formal apology to those Japanese Americans who had been deprived of their possessions, homes, businesses, and freedom during World War II. More than 100,000 Japanese Americans (more than half of whom were U.S. citizens) were imprisoned in internment camps, although they had committed no crimes! The 1988 act did more than apologize; it granted $20,000 to each surviving internee. Sure, it was more than forty years later, and sure, that amount of money didn't replace everything that was lost—but this sort of societal restitution is better than not saying or doing ANYthing!

Also on this date:

Plan Ahead!

And here are my Pinterest pages on October holidaysOctober birthdays, and historical anniversaries in October.

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