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Las Vegas Jewish community reflects on the past year during Yom Kippur

By: Astrid Mendez #las-vegas-nv

Posted at 6:20 PM, Sep 27, 2020 

LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — Synagogues would normally be at full capacity today for Yom Kippur if COVID-19 restrictions were not in place.

But this year, the Jewish community has been forced to get creative.

The day of atonement or Yom Kippur is a centuries-old tradition, bringing family and friends together. But in 2020 many rabbis are holding services online.

For 25 hours, the Jewish community abstains from things that give pleasure and comfort, like food, bathing, and sexual relations. Instead, they worship and pray.

“You have to acknowledge what you’ve done wrong, resolve not to do them and ask God for forgiveness, but for the things that we have done against our neighbor, we have to go to them and we have to say to them, I’m sorry, would you please forgive me.”

Rabbi Sanford Akselrad has been in charge of the congregation Ner Tamir in Henderson for 32 years. He says he sees similarities between the 10 days of repentance leading up to Yom Kippur – and the 7 months of COVID-19.

“Perhaps this year it has been 10 days of awfulness and I’ve been challenging my congregation to reflect on what is awful, what is gone rewiring what would we like to see go different and make it still a time of aww, of revenge for god, a sense of community.”

A time for reflection but also a time of hope.

Yom Kippur ends tomorrow at sundown.

G’mar Chatima Tovah (Translation: May you be sealed in the book of life for a happy and healthy new year).