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The Yom Kippur Reader You’ve Been Waiting for Is Finally Here

From poetry to art history, this short and free booklet has everything you need to put you in the mood for repentance

Liel Leibovitz
October 07, 2019

Whether you choose to spend the next few days in shul, bedecked in white, or at home, on the couch, lounging and relaxing, you could likely use a short and evocative guide to help put you in the Yom Kippur Spirit.

Fortunately, the folks at UWS//Jews—a community of young Jews dedicated to living rich and engaged Orthodox lives in one of Manhattan’s most vibrantly Jewish neighborhoods—have just what you need. In partnership with the stellar 929 English project, which presents and annotates a chapter of the Bible each day, the UWS crew have released a short reader for the holiday, that contains anything from gorgeous poetry to put you in the mood for repentance to scholarly but eminently approachable meditations on the day’s key themes.

Compiled by Adina Minkowitz, Ariel Futter, Catalina Trigo, and Danit Fleischman, the reader is available for free online in PDF form. It’s just long enough to read in an hour or two in between services, and yet profound enough to give you food for thought that would sustain you throughout the entire day of fasting.

From Shira Hecht-Koller’s inventive observations on Picasso’s bull as a template for Teshuvah to Malka Fleischmann’s short and stirring attempts at figuring out why forgiveness is so difficult for human beings, the reader targets the head and the heart alike, as any good Yom Kippur rumination should. You can download it here and read it whenever and wherever you await the sealing of the Book of Life.

Liel Leibovitz is Editor at Large for Tablet Magazine and a host of its weekly culture podcast Unorthodox and daily Talmud podcast Take One. He is the editor of Zionism: The Tablet Guide.