Climate-Crisis YOM KIPPUR: Fast with Abe Lincoln at his Memorial

Sorrowful Lincoln at the Memorial

Atonement and At-One-ment: Sundown to Sundown--September 22nd & 23rd

Yom Kippur at the Lincoln Memorial:

Sponsored by The Shalom Center

 Yom Kippur is the day of both Atonement and At-One-ment.  At this moment in history we humans are in need of atonement for the ways in which we have desecrated the Earth. This desecration is the result of our lack of At-One-ment – our separation from all life -- our separation of ourselves from the Earth of which we are in truth an interwoven thread.

This year Yom Kippur occurs immediately before Pope Francis’s unprecedented address to a joint session of Congress.  We offer this Yom Kippur service at the Lincoln Memorial as an invitation for our Jewish community, along with people of all faiths, to come together, acknowledging our shared need for atonement. And we will gather as one of a number of faith-based events planned for that week in support of Pope Francis' response -- the encyclical Laudato Si -- to the climate crisis and its roots in world-wide social crisis.

At the Lincoln Memorial we see the image of a sorrowful leader who mght well be fasting with us today in atonement for our damage to the Earth and to many human communities, in atonement for our subservience to great corporations as oblivious in their cruelty as the slaveholders he faced. And who turned his sorrow into action, into transformation. Into At-One-ment.

The Memorial enshrines and honors not Lincoln alone but also the millions of Americans who have gathered there to stand for the dignity of every person. It is the pre-eminent American symbol of our collective responsibility to work for freedom and democracy for all people. “with malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right.”

The schedule for our service:

Kol Nidre -- 6:30 to 8:30 pm, Sept 22 Morning Services -- 10 am to 1:30 pm, Sept 23 Ne'ilah  -- 5 to 7:40 pm Sept 23, concluding with the blowing of the shofar and leading to an interfaith vigil. (THIS SERVICE WILL BE AT JOHN MARSHALL PLACE PARK at 4TH AND C STREETS NW.)

While drawing upon the structure of the traditional Yom Kippur liturgy, we intend to focus our worship experience with more Chanting, and Reflective Spiritual Exercises; and we will invite other faith traditions to participate during the day, asking them to bring their prayers of atonement.  We will move towards prayers and feelings of At-One-ment with all that is.

This invitation to other people of faith is an acknowledgement that we share a worldview about responsibility to the interwoven life of Earth, even while we understand this commitment may be  rooted in specific teachings that are especially sacred to Judaism, or to Catholicism, or Islam, or to any one tradition.

In that spirit and to make clear our sharing, we have placed on this page, our Home Page, three statements that, out of three different traditions, come to the same conclusions: the full text of the Pope's Laudato Si, the   Rabbinic Letter on the Climate Crisis  now signed by more than 400 rabbis from every stream of Judaism; and the Islamic Declaration on Global Climate Change, set forth by leading Muslim spiritual teachers from around the world.

It is critical that we now act together, entering into shared atonement for what has occurred,  into prayer for the future of all life, and into commitment to act in the spirit of AT-ONE-MENT.

  After the traditional afternoon break in Yom Kippur services we will reconvene and continue our liturgy at 5:00.

We will conclude the Yom Kippur liturgy, as we traditionally do, with the long shofar blast as three stars appear in the sky – a fitting affirmation that our lives are interconnected with the movement of the universe.

At 7:30 Wednesday evening, as Yom Kippur is ending, there will be a multi-faith vigil called to usher in the Pope’s address the next day. At that point, we will welcome others and transition into a multi-faith service.

We will be joined in “breaking our fast” by people of faith who have been fasting for as long as ten days near the White House calling attention to the need to act for the sake of all life.

Please be aware:

Yom Kippur is a day of fasting and it is not appropriate to publicly eat or drink during the day.  Jewish tradition is clear that in cases of serious threats to health, the protection of life transcends even this most solemn fast. If you need to eat or drink during this service, we ask that you do so away from the congregation. Many people will wear white clothing to signify our intention to purify our souls and our lives. You are encouraged to:

Invite friends, family and colleagues who may want to join us for any or part of Yom Kippur. Bring a chair or a cushion, so that you may be more comfortable. Bring food for yourself for the Break Fast. Most important, remember it is a sacred and holy moment in time, in our hearts and spirits – and so we ask that you join us with this awareness.

  Please visit our Facebook page "Yom Kippur 2015 at the Lincoln Memorial, Washington DC" by clicking to <> and let us know if you will be joining us Share this invitation with your friends and encourage them to come.

Whether you can join us at the Lincoln Memorial or not, if you want to support this and our related work to bring a moral, religious, and spiritual dimension to the active healing of our Earth, please click on the "Donate" button in the left margin of this page.


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