Students focus on personal relationships for Yom Kippur

Samantha Laros

Attendance at services goes up during holidays

The Jewish High Holidays ended last night at sundown with what is widely considered the most important observance in the Hebrew calendar, Yom Kippur.

According to the Jewish faith, God decrees judgment on each person on Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year. In the following 10 days, each person goes through a series of prayers and reflections exploring his or her personal relationships, according to

At the end of the 10-day reflection, God seals the decrees and a new year begins.

Kevin Minster, senior architecture and environmental design major, said since coming to Kent State, he has learned a lot about his accountability in personal relationships. Before college, he was raised to attend services and participate in the regular traditions with his family each year during the High Holidays. College has given him the experience of going through those same traditions on his own. He said he is more aware of his responsibility in his personal relationships because his family no longer leads the way for him.

There are two types of relationships in the Jewish faith. The first is person to person; the second is person to God. If one person does wrong to another, rather than confession to God, Judaism teaches the value of reconciliation with the person who was wronged. The 10 days between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur are meant to provide the Jewish people with opportunities to mend their personal relationships. On Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, each person asks God to grant them another year to continue working on these relationships.

Traditionally, members of the Jewish community who may not regularly attend services show up for Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur.

At Kent State, the number of students who come to Hillel remains fairly consistent, but a greater number of students attend services during the High Holidays than the regular weekly services, Minster said.

For some people, attending the Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur services provides enough to identify with Judaism, Minster said. Some people choose to observe every week.

“If you would have asked me last year, I’d have told you I went to services once or twice a semester,” he said. “This year, I try to go every Friday night. It’s just something I do that’s become very important to me.”

Contact religion reporter Samantha Laros at [email protected].