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Yom Kippur and the words of Rabbi Kenneth Berger

A framed photograph of Rabbi Kenneth Berger and his wife, Aviva. Both died in a plane crash.
A framed photograph of Rabbi Kenneth Berger and his wife, Aviva. Both died in a plane crash.

So earlier today I took my kids to synagogue for Yom Kippur services.

We are not a particularly religious bunch, and sometimes it feels more like punching in a time card than seeking enlightenment. I think this is a concept Jews and Catholics tend to share, and manifests itself in dialogues that goes something like this:

You need to go to church.

Why?

Because it’s what we do.

Ugh. OK.

Anyhow, we went for about two hours. And it was fine. Not exhilarating or particularly different than the 1,000 other times I’ve attended services. But perfectly endurable for a short spell, and highlighted by the usual high-level work of Quaz No. 322.

At some point I picked up a booklet of supplemental readings and stumbled upon FIVE MINUTES TO LIVE, which I pasted below. It’s a genuinely moving essay, and even more moving when one learns that the author, Rabbi Kenneth Berger, died in a plane crash three years later with his wife, Aviva. The details are here, in this excellent New York Times piece.

I usually walk away from synagogue with something useful. It might be a quotation. Or a slice of motivation.

Today, it was perspective …

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