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Yom Kippur observed by Jewish community

Rohan Anand | Friday, September 21, 2007

At sundown tonight, several Jewish members of the Notre Dame community will celebrate Yom Kippur, also known as the Day of Atonement – one of the holiest and most solemn days of the year for followers of the Jewish faith.

Those who celebrate the annual holiday must abstain from work, fast for 25 hours and pray continually until sunset the following day.

Freshman Patrick Abrams is Jewish and a member of the marching band, but he will not be playing at the Michigan State game so that he can observe the Sabbath and attend services.

“Hank Greenberg, the first basemen for the Detroit Tigers, skipped playing in a World Series game because of Yom Kippur,” Abrams said. “It’s a Holy Day and an obligation that I feel is right to do, and the University has been very understanding about it. I look forward to reflecting about what’s going on in my life and wondering what the next year is going to be like for me.”

Although there will be no formal celebration of Yom Kippur on campus, Campus Ministry is working to help coordinate events in the future, said Rabbi Michael Signer, a faculty member in the theology department.

“For Yom Kippur, Jewish students at Notre Dame will attend one of the synagogues in South Bend – either Temple Beth El, Sinai Synagogue or [the] Hebrew Orthodox Congregation,” he said. “Additionally, the ND Holocaust Project, celebrated during the spring, coordinates educational events for the entire campus to celebrate Jewish ideas and history.”

Abrams, who is a fourth-generation student, said he has felt comfortable being a member of the Jewish faith at Notre Dame.

“I really love this campus and it’s a very spiritual place to be,” he said. “Though I’m Jewish, it’s such a great atmosphere and I’ve had no problems adjusting to being one of the few Jews on a Catholic campus – I feel welcomed.”

Abrams said he is happy the University offers resources such as an official club and a Jewish Studies program.