This is Yom Kippur, and the agony of existence is very near. This is Yom Kippur, and no matter the darkness, I must seek myself. Let not the pain of discovery keep guilt and anguish from my thoughts. For love cannot penetrate the darkness of the unknown.
Great is the work of man, and highly to be praised. Great are his cities and his nations. Nothing like him ever was.
Yet man has despoiled Eden, the flowers fade and the birds are slient; he has poisoned the earth and laid waste the goodness that nature has set before him.
How noble a creature is man. How artful he is in all his ways, how wondrous in all his doings. Nothing like him ever was.
Yet man’s ways are corrupt on the earth; he lies and ravages to gain victory; he devours the land in his hunger.
How valiant is man, how glorious are his deeds. His reach extends to the furthest boundaries. Nothing like him ever was.
Yet the pomp and glitter of majestic dynasties belong to an unreal past; the dead today, on distant battlefields do not tell of glory.
How great is man, highest of life’s forms, fittest of the evolutionary chain, little lower than the angels. Nothing like him ever was.
Yet, we who are the mighty look upon our works in sorrow. Is our tomorrow only to descend into the valley?
It’s really a wonder
That I haven’t dropped all my ideals;
They seem so absurd and impossible
To carry out;
Yet I keep them.
Because in spite of everything,
I still believe that people are really good
I simply can’t build my hopes on a foundation
I see the world gradually being
Turned into a wilderness.
I hear the approaching thunder.
I can feel the suffering of millions.
If I look up into the heavens,
I think that it will all come out right
One of these days,
That this cruelty will end,
And that peace
Will return again.
In the meantime, I must hold on
To my ideals
For perhaps the day will come
When I shall be able to carry them out.
(“Letter to Kitty, Saturday, July 15, 1944”
From the Diary of Anne Frank)
Reader and Group
Though life is troubled, we are here;
Despite the sorrow, we are here.
We know of pain and failure;
Still we are here.
For the sun can shine on a winter day,
And a warm embrace bring tomorrow’s hope.
We have come tonight to be forgiven and to forgive,
To forgive ourselves as we would forgive others.
For this we celebrate the Yom Kippur, to create atonements,
Not to condemn, but to accept,
Not to dwell on moods bitter and dark,
But to bring peace to the deep places of the human soul.
Baruch et Adonai ha-me-vo-rach
Baruch Adonai ha-me-vo-rach le-olam va-ed
Singing of Responses
Reader and Group
As we free ourselves from the conflicts and fears that estrange men one from the other, we seek to become one in fellowship. We hear the affirmation of unity in our ancient creed:
Shema yis-ra-el Adonai eloheynu Adonai echad.
Baruch shem ke-vod mal-chu-to le-olam va-ed.
Singing of Responses
(Congregation is seated)
To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under heaven:
A time to be born, and a time to die;
A time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;
A time to break down, and a time to build up;A time to kill, and a time to heal;
A time to weep, and a time to laugh;
A time to mourn, and a time to dance;
A time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
A time to seek, and a time to lose;
A time to keep, and a time to cast away;
A time to rend, and a time to sew;
A time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
A time to love, and a time to hate;
A time for war, and a time for peace.
Let us together strive for peace. Let Israel join with the peoples of the earth to seek peace from the eternal source of peace. Blessed be our country that it may ever be a stronghold of peace, and its advocate in the council of nations. May contentment reign within its bordres, health and happiness within its homes. Let the bonds of friendship and fellowship be strengthened among all the inhabitants of all lands. Thus will virtue and love hallow every home and every heart. Praised is the source of all being by whose power the community of man brings forth peace. Amen.
Happy is the man that findeth wisdom, and the man that obtaineth understanding.
For her income is better than the income of silver, and the gain thereof than fine gold.
Wisdom is more precious than rubies; and all the things thou canst desire are not to be compared unto her.
Length of days is in her right hand; in her left hand are riches and honour.
Her ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace.
She is a tree of life to them that lay hold upon her, and happy is every one that holdeth her fast.
(The Ark is Opened)
Reader, holding the Torah
Torah is the ground of our dedication to truth. Its power has infused the search of centuries. From its devotion to wisdom we derive the charge to strive for wisdom; from its commitment to the good, we are impelled to seek the good. May the spirit of Torah abide with us as we turn to our lesson of the week.
(Torah is Raised and Dressed)
Reader and Group
Let us rejoice in the everliving creation, and give praise to the greatness that is manifest throughout the world. In the heavens above and the earth below, the divine glory stands revealed. Yet creation is never ended and the universe never full. Potentialities remain unrealized and promises unfulfilled. Thus even as we affirm the present, we commit ourselves to the future, to the ideal of ever higher being, and to the richness of the coming life.
Va-a-nach-nu ko-re-im u-mish-ta-cha-vim u-mo-dim lif-ne
me-lech mal-che ha-me-la-chim ha-ka-dosh ba-ruch hu.
On this night of Yom Kippur, above all other nights, we are aware that life is bounded. Guilt and loneliness, weakness and error are always before us. Nothingness threatens every moment of being, and we live with the sorrow of death. Yet all this we must bear, with courage and acceptance, this we must bear. From the eternal source of peace, we have been given the power all this to bear.
Yit-ga-dal ve-yit-ka-dash she-meh ra-ba
u-ve-cha-ye de-chol beit yis-ra-el
ba-a-ga-la u-viz-man ka-riv
ye-he she-mah ra-ba me-va-rach le-a-lam u-le-al-me
yit-ba-rach ve-yish-ta-bach ve-yit-pa-ar ve-yit-ro-mam
ve-yit-na-se ve-yit-ha-dar ve-yit-a-le ve-yit-ha-lal
she-meh de-ku-de-sha, be-rich hu,
le-e-la min kol bir-cha-ta ve-shi-ra-ta
da-a-mi-ran be-al-ma ve-im-ru amen
ye-he she-la-ma ra-ba min sha-ma-ya ve-cha-yim
a-le-nu ve-al kol yis-ra-el ve-im-ru amen
o-she shalom bim-ro-mav, hu ya-a-she shalom a-le-nu
ve-al kol yis-ra-el ve-im-ru amen.