A is for Atonement or at-one-ment – Yom Kippur for Dummies

My women’s group goes away for a retreat once a year. This year we decided to learn more about the Jewish Days of Awe or Days of Repentance. Two books were useful: A Book of Life by Rabbi Michael Strassfield and Judaism for Dummies by Rabbi Ted Falcon and David Blatner!

We ate a lot of round, golden food – like florentines, apples, carrots – all soaked in honey!

In Judaism for Dummies, I read that a confessional might use the ABC’s*, so we created our own list. On Saturday night, we adapted the reading by UU minister, Rev. Rob Eller -Isaacs from Singing the Living Tradition, the Unitarian hymn book. We read his reading first and then read 5 or so of the “letters” and as a group repeated the refrain: We forgive ourselves and each other. We begin again in love.  (I’ve always liked this reading but only this year realized it was related to Yom Kippur and the Jewish High Holidays.)

Here’s our alphabetical list.

A – adultery, ageism, arrogance

B – betrayal, bitchiness, busy-ness

C – calumny, collusion, coveting, cover-up, cheap consumer goods created in China

D – despair, deceit, dithering, dilletantism

E – envy, extinction

F – flattulence, fear, flippancy, forked tongue, flaming

G – gluttony, genocide, gossip, graft

H – hubris, holier-than-thou-ness

I – impatience, irritability, insolence, idleness

J – jealousy, judgmentalism

K – know-it-all-ness, killing

L – lying, loathing, lust

M – making nice, murder

N – not seing

O – obedience, overfunctioning

P – put downs, pedophilia, procrastination, pomposity, pollution

Q – quietism

R – righteousness, racism, residential schools

S – subservience, sloth, snideness, sarcasm, stuckness, snobbery, sexism

T – triangulation, transgression

U – undermining, unctiousness

V – venality

W – waffling, war

X – xenophobia

Y – yelling, yawning, yarding

Z – Zoocide

From A Book of Life, I learned that although none of us would be guilty of all the sins listed, we repeat them in community as a “general confessional.”

I am connecting with two members of my Unitarian church who have Jewish heritage and planning a Yom Kippur celebration and dinner for October 9th.

Errors and omissions welcome. Please comment.

“… these prayers are alphabetical poems (called acrostics) which list all the sins that humankind has committed, like, “We have Abused, Betrayed, been Cruel, and so on.” (page 241, Judaism for Dummies.)

Click Comment below to see a response from one of the authors of Judaism for Dummies.


One Comment to “A is for Atonement or at-one-ment – Yom Kippur for Dummies”

  1. Mary, I’m so pleased that our book was useful for you! I’m glad we were able to offer something that you were able to take and run with.

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