Jewish congregations in Wilmington will begin marking Yom Kippur, the day of atonement, in services this week starting at sundown Tuesday (Sept. 25) at their houses of worship.
B’nai Israel Synagogue, 2601 Chestnut St., will begin services with a Mincha, or evening prayer service, at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, followed by the chanting of the Kol Nidre, the ritual declaration that precedes the congregation’s prayers for forgiveness.
For the first time in the congregation’s history, according to Rabbi Robert Waxman, the Kol Nidre will be sung by a woman, Lois Kittner, a cantorial student at the Academy for Jewish Religion in Mount Vernon, N.Y.
Also, the KavaNotes, the B’nai Israel ensemble led by Thom Clemmons, will sing three songs, joined by David Burns on piano.
The Temple of Israel, 1 S. Fourth St., will begin the holiday with the collection and donation of food to Wilmington’s Good Shepherd Center. The gifts will be turned over to representatives of the shelter at 6:15 p.m. Tuesday.
“Yom Kippur is a fast,” said Sharyn Rosenberg, president of B'nai Israel congregation. “We feel that ours is a day we give up food by choice, and we want to help feed those who are hungry due to need.”
The food collection is part of a project by Sylvia Atwood, one of the Temple’s Bat Mitzvah students, who has been working with the Good Shepherd Center, Rosenberg said.
The Kol Nidre will follow at 8 p.m. at the Temple. Rabbi Paul Sidlofsky will preside.
Chabad of Wilmington, 2714 Market St., the area’s Lubavitch Chasidic community, will begin Kol Nidre services at 6:45 p.m. with the lighting of candles, with Rabbi Moshe Y. Lieblich presiding. Prayer books will be in Hebrew with English translation.
Yom Kippur observances continue Wednesday with prayers and Torah services, concluding with the ritual blowing of the shofar (ram’s horn).
A 25-hour period of fasting and intense prayer, Yom Kippur completes the High Holy Days and is considered the holiest period in the Jewish year.
Ben Steelman: 343-2208