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Alumni A Eulogy for Yom Kippur in Tel Aviv

By Matthew Schultz
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Those who believe that Yom Kippur is a somber, arduous day are those who have never experienced the magic of Yom Kippur in Tel Aviv.

Yes, it is the holiest day of the Jewish year—a day of repentance and self-examination, but it is also a day of freedom from commerce, capitalism and traffic—a day when the air clears and we are allowed to experience the urban fabric not as consumers or worker bees, but as human beings.

In the decade since I moved to Tel Aviv from the US, I have experienced Yom Kippur in many different ways. There have been years when I fasted and years when I did not. There were years I spent in synagogue and years I spent at home, years spent beating my chest and years spent riding my bike.


Matthew Schultz is a writer and rabbinical student at Hebrew College. He is the author of the essay collection “What Came Before” (Tupelo, 2020) and lives between Boston and Jerusalem.

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