As you receive this edition of Real Time, Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, passed less than a week ago (it began this year on the night of October 12 and ended the following evening). Sukkot, the Feast of Tabernacles will begin tonight (the evening of Oct. 17) and lasts for eight days.
Is there a Sukkot service near you? You never know!
Or you might find Jews for Jesus presenting “Christ in the Feast of Tabernacles” at a church in your area. See a full listing and then use the “State” pulldown menu to zero in on your area.
In any case, Jews for Jesus has prepared special web pages to acquaint you with these holidays and their meaning for Christians:
Every year we provide different sites other than our own pertaining to the Jewish holidays. There are many good websites out there and you might check the online archives of Real Time to see past sites we’ve visited.
This year, we found these pages which give a compact overview of Yom Kippur and Sukkot as observed in traditional Judaism:
Ever since the destruction of the Temple in A.D. 70, the Jewish religion has taught that God does not require a sacrifice for atonement, but that forgiveness for sin comes through repentance, deeds of charity, prayer and fasting. Believers in Jesus realize that God the Father has provided the final sacrifice in the person of Jesus himself. Yet, a vestigial memory of the ancient sacrifices remains among a minority of Orthodox Jewish people who observe the interesting but little-known custom called kapparot. You can read about kapparot on the following pages. If you’re creative, this custom can even be a bridge into a conversation with a Jewish friend about the true atonement in Jesus.
The first article takes a positive view of the ceremony…
…the second article a somewhat more negative view.
Moishe Rosen muses on Yom Kippur and the kapparot ceremony in this article.
Jewish culture can be very artistic. One of the ritual items for Sukkot is a citron, which in Hebrew is called an “etrog” (or “esrog”). Because the etrog can be a bit fragile and it must be used in a perfect condition, there arose a tradition of making ornate boxes to house and transport the etrog. To get an idea of the beauty of some of these etrog boxes, view this page on Google’s image search.
Last but not least, a new Israeli film has just come to our attention, scheduled for release in major American cities this month. Entitled, Ushpizin (roughly, “holy guests”), the film focuses on an Orthodox Jewish family during the holiday of Sukkot and their unexpected guests. Judging from the film’s website, it looks to be a visual feast as well as an introduction to a Jewish community not well known by many, including secular American Jews. Read the synopsis, view a trailer, and much more at the official web site.
(PLEASE NOTE: We do not necessarily endorse all the content you see on all links that we mention, but if you read them judiciously, we hope you will find them both interesting and helpful for learning.)