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Yom Kippur marks time for more than just fasting

This weekend, Hillsborough County synagogues will honor Yom Kippur, the Jewish High Holiday also known as the Day of Atonement.

The holiday, which falls after Rosh Hashana, is a time of fasting and repentance when congregations gather for prayer and reflection.

Yom Kippur begins today at sundown and ends with a breaking of the fast on Saturday evening.

"Yom Kippur is the time of year when we look inside ourselves to understand what we have done correctly and where we need to do better," said Rabbi Joshua Hearshen of Congregation Rodeph Sholom in Tampa. "We do this not just as individuals but as a congregation and as a community."

Within the Chabad, the Orthodox and Unorthodox Jewish traditions, Yom Kippur offers a yearly confessing and cleansing of the sins.

Jewish people of the Messianic faith, who consider Jesus the Messiah, celebrate the holiday in a somewhat different way.

"We do the same things as a traditional synagogue, but we also add on things relative to the fact that in accordance with our beliefs the Messiah has come," said Rabbi Don Goldstein of Shoresh David Messianic Synagogue. "We don't speak about this as something we hope for but as something that we know."

Yom Kippur services begin with the reading of the Kol Nidre, a historical declaration welcoming the congregation in seeking forgiveness for all Jewish people.

Contact Sarah Whitman at sarahrothwhitman@gmail.com.

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