SOMERS, N.Y. - The Jewish community is preparing to observe the holiest day of the year, Yom Kippur, also known as the Day of Atonement. It begins at dusk on Friday, October 7, and ends at dusk on Saturday. It is a period of complete fasting, about 25 hours in length, and it ends with a communal "break fast."
Ellen Most, a 13-year member of the Reconstructionist Hebrew Congregation of Somers describes it as "a day of quiet reflection. I think about how the year has been for my family and wonder about what will be happening in the upcoming year." She also thinks about her grandparents, "and other loved ones who are no longer with me."
"Our synagogue gives a wonderful 'break fast,'" says Audrey Sherman, another member. "The synagogue is kosher, so we don't mix dairy and meat," she explains. "We set up platters of bagels and lox, salad, and kugel, a very traditional noodle dish from Eastern Europe.
"After a fast, you really want a light meal, like fruit and dairy. A lot of people have fish. We drink seltzer or water or juice, and we have challah bread."
Yom Kippur is usually in September or October, depending on the Hebrew calendar, which is based on lunar rather than solar months. This leads to discrepancies, because the solar one is more precise. While the calendar most of us use requires an extra day every four years to be accurate, the Jewish one periodically requires an extra month. This tradition lead Mrs. Sherman to say; "Sometimes we say the holidays are early, sometimes we say they're late, but the rabbi says, 'In the Hebrew calendar, they're right on time.'"
Is there a special greeting for Yom Kippur? "On Rosh Hashanah we say Happy New Year but on Yom Kippur we say, may you have an easy fast."
"In our synagogue, we have a reading and discussion of the Book of Jonah on Yom Kippur because it's about how God is willing to forgive those who repent.
"But then we want to celebrate," says Mrs. Sherman.
Members of the community are invited to attend Yom Kippur services at Hebrew Congregation of Somers: Kol Nidre - Friday, October 7, 6:30 p.m.; Saturday, October 8, Services start at 9 a.m; Children's Service, 10-11 a m.; Reading of Book of Jonah, 4 p.m.; N'ilah, 6 p.m., followed by break-fast.
Ellen Most's Kugel Recipe
Apple, Cheese and Noodle Pudding (Lokshen Kugel mit Kayz un Eppel)
From: So Eat, My Darling: A Guide To the Yiddish Kitchen: by Naf Avnon and Uri Sella
1 lb. broad noodles
4 tbs. melted butter or margarine
4 eggs, slightly beaten
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup cream cheese
1 cup cottage cheese
1/2 pint sour cream
5 green apples, peeled, cored and chopped
1/2 cup raisins
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
2. Cook noodles according to package directions. Drain and put in deep mixing bowl.
3. Pour melted butter over noodles. Add remaining ingredients and mix well. Pour into large, well greased baking dish and bake 1 hour. Serves 6-8.