In the course of the years of seminary, God blessed me with the friendship of a cantor in the Reformed tradition, the late Sidney Venetianer. Along with his family, Sid became my life-long, devoted friend until his death in 1993. One Yom Kippur, I joined him in a complete fast of twenty-four hours, prescribed by the Torah for this day. That day sealed for me what has become a love for Judaism and a desire that we rediscover its profound rhythms for prayer, devotion to the Lord and openness to the ongoing flow of God into our lives.
The essence of the day is prayer and repentance, with the assurance that God is listening and merciful. It is a day of closeness in the Jewish Community, both those on earth and those beyond the grave, as remembrances of names of the community rise forth at the service on this day. It is a fitting day to visit a synagogue. Christians believe that the assurance of God’s forgiveness and atonement is in the love and sacrifice of Jesus.
The Book of Jonah is read in its entirety on this day. (You will find Firestarters for this book in the Eighth and Ninth Weeks of Pentecost, Year C.)
What are these?
A day to pause and repent
The atoning blood of Christ
Never running from Your will
Joy in a forgiving God
Saturdays are dedicated to the Sabbath Torah portions
read in synagogues throughout the world.
This plan follows those traditions that take a third of the portion
over a three year cycle, this year, the third part.
For more about the Torah portions and thoughtful commentaries, visit
The Jewish Theological Seminary.
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