Serving Larchmont Village, Hancock Park, and the Greater Wilshire neighborhoods of Los Angeles since 2011.

Yom Kippur – A Day to Reflect on Getting It Right Next Time

The scales of justice and the shofar, traditional symbols of the Jewish High Holidays of Yom Kippur and Rosh Hashanah, are among the symbols featured in the decorative ceiling in the foyer of Temple Israel of Hollywood, built in 1948.


Today is Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the year for Jews, marking the end of the Jewish High Holidays. Traditionally known as the “Day of Atonement,” Yom Kippur is the day Jews ask forgiveness from God for sins committed during the past year.

Last night, during the Kol Nidre service at Temple Israel of Hollywood, Rabbi Mari Chernow said the holiday gives us an opportunity to examine our lives with a sense of urgency. At the evening service, which begins the holiday, the congregation is asked to metaphorically contemplate death as we gaze into an empty ark, devoid of the holy scrolls, intended to represent a coffin.

For sure, Yom Kippur is very solemn, but last night Chernow shared a more upbeat take, suggesting the holiday is also an opportunity for us to remember that we can keep trying to get it right for the next time. In her comments, Rabbi Michelle Missaghieh reminded us that we can never really achieve everything we want in life but we are commanded to keep trying, and we should surround ourselves with people who will support us.

Years ago, I became a member of the Temple Israel of Hollywood congregation, welcomed as a non-Jew raising a Jewish family. Over the years, it has been home for me as I straddled between by my Catholic family and the Jewish family I married into 33 years ago. I have learned to appreciate Judaism as the antecedent to my own Catholic tradition and feel fortunate to have come to know so many thoughtful religious leaders who have taught me so much.  And I’m still learning.

At this year’s service, it was particularly nice to meet Rabbi Chernow, who recently assumed the role of  Senior Rabbi, taking over for Rabbi John Rosove, who led the congregation for over 30 years and became a good friend. Chernow’s mother, Arlene, was instrumental in welcoming me and other non-Jews into the temple community many years ago. She dedicated her professional career to helping temples all over Southern California organize interfaith programs that recognized and appreciated the unique contributions of non-Jewish spouses and their families to the temple community. What a treat it was to join her at services last night and share in her pride watching her daughter lead our congregation and carry on her work of welcoming the stranger.

At some level, we’re all strangers and we can all work on getting better at welcoming each other into whatever community we can share.


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Patricia Lombard
Patricia Lombard
Patricia Lombard is the publisher of the Larchmont Buzz. Patty lives with her family in Fremont Place. She has been active in neighborhood issues since moving here in 1989. Her pictorial history, "Larchmont" for Arcadia Press is available at Chevalier's Books.

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