Community observes Yom Kippur through thoughtful traditions


Rabbi Berel and Rachel Sasokin. Photo courtesy of Chabad at Kent State website.

Grace Kindl, Reporter

Yom Kippur means “Day of Atonement.” Following Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish new year, this High Holy Day is a time for prayer, reflection, repentance and amending the sins of the past year.

Yom Kippur is celebrated primarily by fasting, however a large portion of the traditions are rooted in community.

“My favorite tradition is when we get to come together as a community and sing. It’s something I cherish because it carries throughout the entire year,” said Berel Sasonkin, a rabbi for Chabad at Kent State.

That sentiment is shared by Kent Hillel executive director Adam Hirsh. “What I love about being on campus is it’s a time for us to be with our community on campus,” Hirsh said. “It’s a really important day to be together. It’s a really hard day.”

Observance is marked with a meal before fast Tuesday night and the breaking of the fast after sundown Wednesday night. Similarly to the average morning meal, “break fast” foods can include bagels, quiche and fruit.

Adam Hirsh, Kent Hillel Executive Director

During the fast, students are welcome to attend services at Hillel, as well as break the fast afterward as a community. Following the fast, “everyone feels so accomplished. We all went through the holiday together,” Hirsh said.


Another large tradition on Yom Kippur is complete rest. This is observed by not working, driving and using electronics.

“One of my favorite parts of the holiday is it really pushes you to take that time,” Hirsh said. “We’re supposed to unplug and be together with the community.”

Due to the seriousness of the holiday, “happy Yom Kippur” is not a typical greeting. The appropriate greeting phrase is “may your inscription be sealed for a good year,” according to Sasonkin.

Students are encouraged to get involved with Hillel and engage in the community this holiday is rooted in. Hillel will be gathering on the ‘K’ at Risman Plaza Oct. 11 to celebrate Sukkot.

Sukkot ends the high holiday and will be celebrated at Kent by building a sukkah. A sukkah is a structure built to provide shade and must be outside in order to fulfill that duty.

To find more information and get involved with Hillel, students can visit their website: A program calendar with dates and times is available under the “events” tab.

Grace Kindl is a reporter. Contact her at [email protected].