On Rosh Hashanah, Jewish communities try repenting for gun violence and racism

Source: Washington Post

By Julie Zauzmer

The synagogue members hammered stakes into the ground on a hot September afternoon, then draped each one with a t-shirt bearing the name of a person killed by gunshot. With each blow, they clanged out a memorial for a crime they did not commit.

And then they gathered for a prayer — and an apology.

“May we acknowledge threats, some of our own making, to those ideals,” they read aloud.

The scene at Temple Sinai in Northwest Washington on Sunday was one of many playing out across the Jewish world this season. During the Days of Awe, which begin Wednesday at sundown with Rosh Hashanah and conclude ten days later with Yom Kippur, Jews have always focused on repentance for all manner of personal transgressions, from lying to laziness. But this year, many American rabbis are urging their congregations to focus also on communal sins, leading to creative efforts to seek atonement for the crimes of the entire nation.

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