For many years after I was bar-mitzvahed I observed Yom Kippur, which is the holiest day in Judaism. Yom Kippur means “Day of Atonement.” My primary act of observance was fasting from the beginning of the day at sunset through the end of Yom Kippur at the next sunset. Jews observe a lunar timeline.
At first the observance was quasi-religious in nature, but over time morphed into more about honoring the memory of my parents, who were Holocaust survivors. My father literally watched his family murdered by
Nazi troops. Eventually, the realization of what happened to him as well as the unspeakable evil represented by the Holocaust moved me to the agnostic/atheist part of the belief spectrum. Somewhat ironically, that realization has led me to stop observing Yom Kippur. (Of course, the history of evil and chaos that has existed since the beginning of time has also played a role in the change in my belief system. The Holocaust is hardly the only such event in history.)
I feel as though I honor the memory of my parents and their sacrifices every day I think about them, which is virtually every day.
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