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Observing Yom Kippur in the Ozarks

The "shofar," or ram's horn trumpet, is a symbolic part of Yom Kippur. (Photo credit: Wikimedia.org)

Yom Kippur is a day of fasting, prayer and repentance for the Jewish community. The holiday is a time to reflect and seek reconciliation with God, family and friends, and even themselves. Richard Schur is a professor at Drury University and member of the Temple of Israel.

 “You think about the things you’ve done in the past year, and how you can live up to your values and how you can be a better person in the next year. It’s really a very important part of my religious and spiritual life, because it helps me to be a better Jew, a better person, a better dad, a better husband, all those things which are very important to me,” Schur said.

Yom Kippur is observed with a 24 hour fast, no eating or drinking from sunset Friday to nightfall on Saturday. It begins with Friday’s service, which is called Kol Nidre, or all vows. The Jewish community in the Ozarks, and all over, will recite the same prayer.

“One of the great things about Jewish life is that no matter where you’d go in the United States, or the world for that matter, Jews would be having the Kol Nidre prayer, they’d be doing the fasting, and reading the same Torah portions anywhere you go,” Schur said.

A shofar, or a ram’s horn trumpet, gives one loud note to signal the end of the holiday, and the triumph of Israel over sins for another year.  Members of the Temple of Israel,  over 100 families, will then break the fast by gathering together to enjoy their first meal after the period of reflection.

It is proper to wish someone a well Yom Kippur by saying, have an easy fast.

For KSMU News, I’m Anna Thomas.

One of the traditional foods made surrounding Yom Kippur is "kreplach,"a meat-filled dumpling.