CPP has a vibrant and thriving Jewish community ready to celebrate Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement. University Quad (Madison Thomas | The Poly Post)

Celebrating Yom Kippur on campus

Yom Kippur, or the Day of Atonement, will take place on Tuesday, Oct. 8 and Wednesday, Oct. 9. 

This is the holiest time in the Jewish religion and calls for repentance and atonement. To gain atonement from God, one must repent one’s sins, give to charity and pray. This holiday is traditionally celebrated by a 25-hour long fasting period and by spending most of the time in a synagogue for an intense prayer service. 

(Madison Thomas | The Poly Post)

The fast is typically practiced by healthy men and women, but due to certain medical conditions, fasting is not required. 

To prepare for the fasting, a large meal is eaten the afternoon before due to Jewish law. Considering Yom Kippur is one of the most significant holidays in Jewish culture, it is typically celebrated by secular Jews who tend to not celebrate other Jewish holidays.

Cal Poly Pomona is home to a wide variety of students from all different backgrounds; there is a diverse body of students and faculty with people of all different ethnicities, genders, socioeconomic statuses and religious backgrounds coming together to create our campus community. 

Cal Poly Pomona Jewish students will be celebrating one of the holiest days in their calendar and they all have their own unique experiences and feelings about the holiday. First-year psychology major, Hannah Spector, explains, “I went to Sunday school and Hebrew school for most of my childhood until I had a Bar Mitzvah, (and) I definitely learned … about (Yom Kippur).” 

CPP has a vibrant and thriving Jewish community ready to celebrate Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement. (Madison Thomas | The Poly Post)

She further went on to detail the meaning and significance of the holiday to the wide community of Jewish people, dubbing the holiday “the most important day of the entire Jewish year.” Spector then explained that “(we [Jewish people] have a different calendar) and the Jewish people are meant to get really close to God on this holiday.” 

She gives an explanation of the holiday and illustrates the deeper meaning of Yom Kippur. “(It) means ‘day of atonement’ and with this, we are kind of getting cleansed of our sins and are pure, and God forgives us. The most important thing on this day is that we ‘cleanse our souls.’” 

However, Specter herself “(doesn’t) celebrate (Yom Kippur) and definitely (has) more of a connection with other Jewish holidays,” but “know(s) that (her) dad, for example, doesn’t eat for the time period of Yom Kippur to honor this as do a lot of other people.” 

She concludes by acknowledging “this (is) about as much as my family does, but Orthodox Jews would truly devote themselves to God on this day.” 

Fourth-year and international business and marketing major Nathan Isaacson shares a similar experience to this Jewish holiday, as he “(doesn’t) really celebrate Yom Kippur” and explains that while his family history is Jewish, he tends not to practice or celebrate traditional Jewish holidays. 

Cal Poly Pomona students who are not Jewish are excited for the holiday as well. 

Third-year biology student Daniel Enriquez explains that though he, himself, is “not Jewish … (he) is genuinely excited to see what the campus community does for the holiest day in the Jewish calendar, Yom Kippur. (He) hope(s) to learn more about the culture and traditions of the holiday.”

On Tuesday and Wednesday, countless Jewish people will celebrate. 

Despite the fact that not every Jewish student will actively participate in or celebrate Yom Kippur, the Cal Poly Pomona campus has a vibrant and thriving Jewish community. 

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