The source for Yom Kippur [The Day of Atonement] is Vayikra [Leviticus] Ch.23, v.27, where it is mentioned as the day when the sin of the golden calf was forgiven the People of Israel in the desert, and it was decreed for all generations [for all time] as a day for atonement of the Temple, the Holy, the Tabernacle, the Altar, the Priests and all the people.
For intermediate and older students:
- The VIDUI prayers [of confession and for forgiveness] are in the plural. How is the community important in helping people to improve themselves? Why is it significant that people are not expected to name their own specific shortfalls? What does this say about the fallibility of man and individualism?
- What effect does fasting have on a whole community - and you, personally? Which is more important - to pray in the community, if this will mean needing to eat - or to stay at home and fast? What sort of exemptions have there always been from the obligation to fast?
- Which prayers or readings have the greatest impact on you? Why?
- Allow students the time to compose a personal prayer they would like to say on Yom Kippur.
The activities below were adapted and extended from a monthly series on Teaching Israel, produced and edited by Mr. Yitzhak Zucher at the former Pedagogic Center of the Department for Torah Education and Culture in the Diaspora.