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The candles on the menorah stand tall. Each one calls us to light the flames which reflect our deepest hopes and prayers:
In a traditional translation of the Al Chet prayer we would read: "For the sin we committed…." But the word "chet" in Hebrew is an archery term that means "to miss the mark." As we face the effects of global warming, let's step away from the concept of "sin" and come back to the mark, to the ways that we've all missed it.
Jewish tradition recognizes that fasting is not a safe practice for all Jews. For this reason, children under the age of 13 and individuals who are pregnant or ill are not required to fast in Yom Kippur. For those who fall into this category, the Jewish Board of Family and Children's Services provides a special meditation to recite instead, written by Rabbi Simkha Y. Weintraub.
These blessings are recited for candle lighting on Passover, Shavuot, Sukkot, and Simchat Torah.
The High Holidays are a time of introspection and self-assessment in anticipation of repentance, forgiveness, thanksgiving and rejoicing. It is a season of healing.