MembersCommemorating Yom Kippur in Israel and America

Commemorating Yom Kippur in the State of Israel is a special experience, very different to what one will find in the Jewish Diaspora

By Rachel Avraham | | Topics: Yom Kippur
While one can certainly find a Jewish community with which to commemorate Yom Kippur in America, cities like New York won't be shutting down for Judaism's holiest day. Photo: Luke Tress/Flash90

Growing up in America, I attended Washington Hebrew Congregation, which is one of the major Reform Synagogues in the Washington, DC area. There, commemorating Yom Kippur was mainly something that one did in the synagogue and the home, as the surrounding environment is not Jewish. Washington, DC is a major cosmopolitan city with many ethnic groups, as are the suburbs that surround it. Thus, one could not feel the atmosphere of Yom Kippur outside of the synagogue, the home and select neighborhoods.

However, in the area where I grew up, Rockville, Maryland, which is thirty minutes north of the White House, the public schools did close down for Yom Kippur, as so many teachers and students were Jewish. We were also in walking distance of the Kibbutz neighborhood, which is where many Israeli expatriates lived. In that area, you could see many Jews walking to synagogue on Yom Kippur, beside cars full of people driving by.

However, not every area of America is like that. For two years, I lived in Lynchburg, Virginia, and there Yom Kippur was...

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