Worshippers at the Beth Israel Synagogue in Northfield read prayers during Yom Kippur services Friday.

Matthew Strabuk

Friday night marked the beginning of the Jewish holiday of Yom Kippur, also known as the Day of Atonement, as area Jews will ask for forgiveness for their sins during the year.

Area rabbis said they will ask their congregation to look deep inside themselves during the holiday, which concludes tonight, as well as at their relationship with God.

During the holiday, which is considered the holiest day of the year, Jews will fast and abstain from bathing or using perfume or lotions, and refrain from wearing anything made from an animal.

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The 10-day period between Rosh Hashanah, which began the night of Sept. 4, and Yom Kippur is known as the “10 days of repentance,” as Jews pray and ask forgiveness among themselves before Yom Kippur begins.

The service tonight is called Kol Nidre. Rabbi Aaron Krauss, of the Beth El Synagogue in Margate, said it is a time when Jews worldwide join  and strengthen their faith.

“It’s about using your faith and strength to overcome pain and not let sorrow (in the world) overcome you,” he said. “It’s a human connection to live more compassionate and forgiving lives. There is too much suffering in the world. We hope that the world will have peace.”

The day is about people learning from their past errors and mistakes and correcting them, he said.

Today will feature the memorial service of Yizkor, in which Jews will remember parents and other loved ones who have died, Krauss said.

Rabbi David M. Weis, of Congregation Beth Israel in Northfield, said Friday he will speak to his congregation about the question of faith.

“What does it mean to have faith in the face of uncertainty?” he asked. “We normally think of faith as having answers and being sure. But maybe the best strength of faith is moving forward in the face of uncertainty.”

Weis said he will speak to the congregants about their faith in God and their always evolving relationship with him.

“For many of us, God is a big question mark,” he said. “We live in a world that’s so material. Things have to be understood by our senses to be real. The idea ‘I’ll wait for a sign from God’ – the reality is faith in God is about confronting uncertainty. We don’t know what will happen tomorrow. If we waited until we were sure we would never move forward.”

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