Jewish congregations gathered Tuesday to begin the celebration of Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the year in the Jewish religion.
“A day of forgiveness,” said Rabbi Choni Marozov of Chabad of SCV, “we pray to God to forgive us for our past wrongdoings.”
Yom Kippur means “Day of Atonement” as the verse (Leviticus 16:30) states, “For on this day he will forgive you, to purify you, that you be cleansed from all your sins before God.”
The holiday began on the 10th day of Tishrei, Tuesday, with the lighting of the holiday candles at 6:38 p.m. exactly 18 minutes before sunset. The Kol Nidre service followed at 6:45 p.m. to welcome the holiday. The holiday will continue until after nightfall Wednesday.
For more than 26 hours Jewish congregations “afflict their souls,” according to the congregation’s website. “We abstain from food and drink, do not wash or apply lotions or creams, do not wear leather footwear, and abstain from marital relations.”
The congregation turns off technology during the holiday. “It is a good time to focus on the essence of life,” Marozov said. “We turn off everything that connects us to the outside world and focus on what’s important.”
Members of the Jewish religion spend the day in synagogue, praying for forgiveness.
“We refer to God as a parent,” Marozov said. “He is compassionate. Even when we drift off, God will forgive us and give us another chance.”
Wednesday will bring the community together with services throughout the day. The celebration will begin with the morning service at 9:30 a.m. followed by the children’s service at 10:30 a.m.
The Yizkor service will take place at noon followed by the Neilah closing at 6 p.m. and break fast at 7:35 p.m. to signify the end of the holiday.
All services are scheduled to take place at the congregation’s synagogue at 23120 Lyons Ave. in Newhall.
“Everyone is welcome to services. You don’t have to be religious,” Marozov said. “One of the greatest blessings we receive from God is when we come together as a community.”
Chabad of SCV has been part of Santa Clarita for 20 years, focusing on serving the local Jewish community spiritually and materially, Marozov said. “We do not have a membership, anyone is welcome — no strings attached.”
For more information on the congregation and their services, go to www.chabadscv.com.