I don’t attend Temple as a rule but Judaism is in my DNA. . This is the 2nd time I’ve attended Yom Kippur – The Day of Atonement – high holy day services at the Temple of the Arts at the Saban Theater in Beverly Hills. It’s the largest arts and entertainment synagogue in the United States.
It’s when we think back to what we’ve done in the past year- who we may have hurt- or treated badly. Then we atone for our misdeeds and ask forgiveness. It’s a day of fasting and to cleanse our souls. I’m not into the fasting part because I easily faint, but the cleansing part is nice.
Two years ago, I attended Yom Kippur services at Temple of the Arts and I was glad I did because it was just what I needed psychically.
Before the service began we had a meet and greet with several special guests that Rabbi David Baron invited.
Day of Atonement guests included:
- Ryan Deitsch and Chris Grady, leaders of the #MarchforourLives and #NeverAgain MSD movement were students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, and experienced the shooting there..
- LAPD officer Justin Reiner and his wife Laura, both of whom are members of the Temple was at the concert in Las Vegas where that terrible shooting occurred.
- Dr. Judea Pearl, father of Daniel Pearl who was beheaded by Isis terrorists. Dr. Pearl is a computer scientist but also sang one of the prayers beautifully.
- Grammy Award-winning Songwriter Diane Warren who has written many songs for Celine Dion, Christina Aguilera, Toni Braxton, and other prominent artists.
- Blind mezzo-soprano Laurie Rubin.
- George Takai from Star Trek. Mr. Takai and his family lived in internment camps during WWII and for a while lived in one of the stables at Santa Anita Racetrack.
Each guest had a chance to speak during the high holy day services or lend their talents.
Other guests included several WWII veterans (in their nineties) who were survivors of the Battle of Normandy. Officer Reiner also brought along his grandfather Sam, another WWII survivor. He was the recipient of 2 Purple Hearts and fought in the Pacific theatre.
Most of the guests had experienced extreme tragedy and adversity. They have reframed their trauma to do good things in the world. Life is fragile. We will all experience tragedy and hardship sometime in our lives. As Baby Boomers many of use already have. It’s how we choose to deal with it that matters.
Whether you are Jewish or not, it feels good to take time to close your eyes and think about who you may have wronged even if it was for something insignificant. Then, ask for atonement and forgive those who may have inadvertently wronged you. You will feel like a load has been taken off your mind and the world will be a better place.