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Yom Kippur Stories

A large selection of stories about Yom Kippur, the holiest day on the Jewish calendar.

A Cancer Survivor's Yom Kippur
With a surprise lesson to carry with . . .
I read and I sobbed. I tried to wipe away the tears, but I could do nothing to stop the powerful sobs from racking my body.
Higher Than Heaven
As the Rebbe’s chassidim waited worriedly for him to arrive, he was climbing deep into the woods, with a sack on his back, to chop down wood...
Baseball on the Day of Atonement
I think that somewhere in the next world, the soul of his Jewish mother was confused and asking, ‘Where is my son? Why is he not with his fellow Jews praying on Yom Kippur?'
The Paper Chicken
"How I do kaparot?" repeated Rabbi Elimelech. "I do what everyone else does. I hold the rooster in one hand, the prayer book in the other, and recite: This is my exchange, this is in my stead, this is my atonement..."
Two Groschen
"The Rebbe must know something we do not," whispered disciples of Rabbi Levi Yitzchak of Berditchev. "Perhaps he sees a terrible calamity decreed for the coming year, G-d forbid"
The Tenth Jew
“By the sanction of the Almighty,” Rabbi Leib intoned, “and by the sanction of the congregation, . . . we declare it permissible to pray together with those who have sinned . . .”
The Yom Kippur Drunk
The scandalized crowd was about to eject the man from the synagogue, when the Rebbe turned from the wall and said: "Let him be. For us, Yom Kippur is just beginning, but for him, it's already Simchat Torah He's there already"
Abraham's Synagogue
The Jews of the settlement began to feel desperate, and busy as they were, they scattered towards all the main roads, hoping against hope that even at this late hour a miracle would happen and they would find a tenth Jew...
Self-Sacrifice
There was a woman who had given birth there who had been left alone when everyone went to the synagogue...
Kano
Do you know where Kano is? Look it up on the map of Nigeria in West Africa
 The Boy Who Crowed Like a Rooster and Saved a City
The boy knew the sounds made by all the different farm animals, and he especially esteemed the rooster’s crowing. When he heard the weeping and the outcries, his heart was also shattered and he cried out loudly, “Cock-a-doodle-do! G‑d, have mercy!”
The Prayers in the Field
As soon as the holy day was over, the man rode into Mezhibuzh, despondent and heartbroken. But the Baal Shem greeted him full of joy
True Believers
I tried to hide from these hoodlums, and since it was Shabbat night, I closed my eyes and immersed myself in the Shabbat prayers. After several minutes a mustached Uzbek with a powerful physique and a scarred face approached me...
The Cantonists' Minyan
The few who survived were so emotionally and psychologically destroyed that they were never able to live normal lives. They lived together in little villages, apart from the rest of the world
The Princess
Many dukes and princes wooed the princess, but she turned them down one after another. The king became impatient and swore that the next young man that would come to the gates of the palace would be her husband...
Holy Day
A Yom Kippur in Hiding
Slowly the shelter came to life . . . but neither my two sisters nor my mother touched the food . . .
The Shofar and the Wall
Could we possibly forgo the sounding of the shofar, which symbolizes the redemption of Israel? For me, it was unthinkable...
My Father's Machzor
In 1951 my father, Rabbi Moshe Greenberg, was twenty years old and a prisoner in a Soviet labor camp in Siberia. That Yom Kippur, he faithfully prayed all the day’s prayers. All, that is, except for Kol Nidrei.
Zaidy's Yom Kippur
It’s an old voice, but powerful and steady. It is my zaidy (grandfather) saying the mourner’s kaddish for his father, whose yahrtzeit is on Yom Kippur.
Forgiveness
"Jay," my friend wrote in his e-mail, "I don’t think you should go to shul and ask G-d for forgiveness. This Yom Kippur you should stay home, and G-d should beg you to forgive Him for what He's done to you"
Will the exiles from Spain finally find refuge from their oppressors...?
The Horse Kid Returns
So this teenage kid pulls up to the shul on his speedy white horse, ties it to a post and swaggers in for a talk with the rabbi.
The Song of the Shepherd Boy
I am different from the swaying men, but not any different than how You created me. I cannot read the holy books, and cannot sing their songs, but I have my own song, and I will sing it for You.
His Disciples Dance on the New Moon
In spite of his great efforts, the skies remained overcast with dark clouds, and it seemed unlikely there would be a moon that night.
The Boy Who Did Not Know How to Pray
One day in the fall, the boy saw that the Jewish villagers were traveling on the road that led to the city.
I Chose to Live With ALS. So Should You
Each of us has so much good in our lives. Even within the suffering and difficulties, there is so much good to be found.
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