Isaiah Speaker, Yom Kippur Afternoon
On Yom Kippur morning, we hear the stirring words of the prophet Isaiah who chastises the Israelites:
“Is this the fast I desire, a day for men to starve their bodies? Is it bowing the head like a bulrush and lying in sackcloth and ashes? Do you call that a fast, a day when God is favorable? No, this is the fast I desire: To unlock the fetters of wickedness, and untie the cords of the yoke; to let the oppressed go free and to break off every yoke.” (Isaiah 58: 5-6)
Isaiah speaks to us in every generation, calling to us to make our day of fasting and self-denial a day of seeking justice and freedom. In that vein, each year we bring in a speaker from the community to teach about and engage our congregation in an area of social justice. Often, the speaker sets a tone for a year of practice and work on that particular issue.
In the past few years, we have heard from Debbie Almontaser of Muslim Community Network who spoke on the Present Challenges in the Muslim Community, Ravi Ragbir of New Sanctuary Coalition who spoke on the Protecting the Immigrant Among Us, and Susan Lerner from Common Cause New York who taught the History and Present of Voting Rights.
Following our Isaiah speaker are congregational teachers that offer special workshops, followed by our Community-Wide Yizkor Service of Memory, Mincha (afternoon) service and Ne’ilah.