Yom Kippur, the Jewish Day of Atonement, is the most solemn day of the Jewish year. The holiday — which begins this year on the evening of September 15 — is an opportunity for us to fast, reflect, atone for our misdoings and pray to be sealed in the book of life. It’s all very heavy and meaningful, and sometimes it can be a lot for children to process. Quite frankly, Yom Kippur can be a challenge for adults to wrap their heads around, too — especially after a very difficult year like this one.
For Jewish musician Eliana Light, going to synagogue during High Holidays was always a magical experience. But one part of the Yom Kippur service — the “Ashamnu” prayer, in which congregants beat themselves on their chests as they recite a long list of transgressions — was really scary to her as a kid. She found the idea that God wanted us to hit ourselves upsetting.
As a Jewish children’s entertainer, Light sought to reframe this ritual — and came up with something incredibly beautiful: Instead of hitting ourselves, we are knocking at a door, she tells the children who attend her programs. “We’re asking our hearts to be open, open to being better, in the new year,” Eliana explains. She wrote the song “Tap Your Heart” to help relay this poignant idea.
This coming Tuesday, 9/14, at 5:30 PM Eastern, Eliana will join us for a special musical workshop to help us all find meaning and connection on Yom Kippur. This workshop is free and open to all — children and grown-ups — and no, you do not need to be a parent to sign up!
You can sign up using this form to join us and Eliana, for a calming and engaging 20-minute workshop. We hope to see you there!