For a select few here at San Marcos, the holidays are right around the corner. The most important celebrations in Jewish faith are the High Holidays, Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur- not Hanukkah, despite what card companies want you to think. Rosh Hashanah takes place on the first day of the Hebrew month of Tishrei, and Yom Kippur is on the tenth day, which this year lines up with September 25th and October 5th. This ten day period is called the Ten Days of Repentance, and for a good reason. Rosh Hashanah is the Jewish new year, which is cause for celebration and self analysis, meaning that, starting on the 25th, it is custom to reflect upon your behavior in the past, and vow to amend previous wrongdoings against your fellow man and against God. Yom Kippur ends this period with a bang; it is the Day of Atonement, after all. October 5th is a non-school day this year, so that Jewish students and teachers can fully participate in traditional celebrations.
Levi Cooper, a senior here at San Marcos, is the president of the Jewish heritage club, and when asked how he planned to spend Yom Kippur, he said, “I’m going to go to services with my family to celebrate.”
To truly repent, many Jews choose to attend services while fully fasting: from food, from exercise, and from just generally sinful behavior on Yom Kippur.
So, you might be wondering, why go through all that trouble? Well, to be quite frank, it is a matter of life and death. The Book of Life, to be specific, and ensuring that your name is kept in it. On Rosh Hashanah, God writes down each person’s fate for the next year, and if your name is struck from it, that is a colossal sized uh-oh. The Ten Days of Repentance is like a grace period, with resolutions assured through prayers to promise to improve upon yourself. Doing so will hopefully sway God to keep your name written in before the book (and your fate) is sealed at the end of Yom Kippur. The High Holidays are about accountability and creating a better version of yourself, something which every student at San Marcos can learn from.