From:   Charles Lenchner <clenchner@gmail.com>
Sent time:   Thursday, October 06, 2011 12:09:54 PM
To:   september17@googlegroups.com
Subject:   [september17discuss] Yom Kippur Services tomorrow night at Zuccotti Park
 

Hey all,

Big FYI here. Dan Sieradski and others have organizing a 'pray in' for lack of a better word tomorrow night at the Park. I'm passing on some info, and can answer some questions in case any exist. I figure, a heads up is in place.

Yom Kippur synagogue services have names. The one on the evening before is called 'Kol Nidre.' It is a solemn occasion, as the holiday itself involves fasting, repenting, etc. The reason some Jews are deciding to skip the services at their chosen synagogue and come to ZP is because they support OWS, see room for personal and communal repentance for the flaws of this society (we are all responsible), and take seriously some of the words from Isaiah:

Is such the fast that I have chosen? the day for a man to afflict his soul? Is it to bow down his head as a bulrush, and to spread sackcloth and ashes under him? Wilt thou call this a fast, and an acceptable day to the LORD? Is not this the fast that I have chosen? to loose the fetters of wickedness, to undo the bands of the yoke, and to let the oppressed go free, and that ye break every yoke? Is it not to deal thy bread to the hungry, and that thou bring the poor that are cast out to thy house? when thou seest the naked, that thou cover him, and that thou hide not thyself from thine own flesh? Then shall thy light break forth as the morning, and thy healing shall spring forth speedily; and thy righteousness shall go before thee, the glory of the LORD shall be thy rearward.

Thus rather than spending the holiday safe and warm in our cozy synagogues thinking abstractly about human suffering, perhaps we should truly afflict ourselves and undertake the fast of Isaiah, by joining the demonstrators in Zuccotti Park, and holding our Yom Kippur services there amongst the oppressed. 

You can read more here:
http://mobius1ski.tumblr.com/post/11025897855/kol-nidre-minyan-at-occupywallstreet

So - what will this mean in practice?
The folks praying will cluster somewhere holding prayer books, perhaps with prayer shawls, some folks might be in front leading the prayers, which will be a mix of Hebrew and English. Men and women will not be segregated. These folks are NOT trying to get others to join them. Respectful behavior might include ignoring them completely, not trying to engage in conversation after it begins, and not holding loud conversations right next to them.

That said, some folks, maybe Jews, might actually WANT to join them. If this is the case, make it clear to someone. I think they are bringing extra copies of the prayer books (on loan from - this is very funny - the Conservative denomination). I expect that the prayer leader will be explaining things, pointing out page numbers, etc. to make it easier for less observant Jews to participate. Non Jews might want to join as well (this does happen...) NO ONE will kick you out but others might assume you are Jewish, so be prepared. It probably will be seen as rude if you want to dip in and out. Join, then stick around, or don't join. Most folks (including many of the women) will likely have a head covering, but this isn't necessary for either gender. The people doing this do not think there is any special merit or expression of solidarity if you join. This gathering has no political message other than 'we support OWS and social justice.' 

Dan said he was coming to the GA tonight to announce this if anyone has questions, etc. The facebook page for this event is here:
https://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=269157873118419
More than 200 people have RSVP'd, so there might be 50-100 folks attending. This is newsworthy in the Jewish community, and is extending messages of support for OWS in that direction. 

Best,

Charles





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