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Kol Nidre and Reciprocity

Dear Members and Friends,

Our congregation is dedicated to making Judaism accessible and meaningful for all. Under the banner of ‘Dor Tikvah’ meaning ‘The Generation of Hope,’ we have worked hard to create an environment that allows us to be there for as many Jews as possible. From enriching programming for children to BBQ parties, Yom Tov celebrations, mens and womens programming, our daily minyanim, classes, and so much more, we strive to be the place that anyone can call their spiritual home.

As I mentioned over Rosh Hashanah, there is no other time when this feeling is more

pronounced than over the High Holy Days. On these ‘full house’ days our community puts on a truly impressive display of ‘Achdut’ - unity, with Jews from all backgrounds and religious levels gathering to pray together during such holy moments.

I’ve always found it fascinating that the Kol Nidre prayer, recited as we begin Yom Kippur, is in the top-two most-attended Jewish services (usually second only to Neilah). Whilst circumstantially it marks the beginning of Yom Kippur, the prayer Kol Nidre itself is one of the

least understood. Written in Aramaic, it isn’t a plea for forgiveness, a cry for help, or even a

request for a good year. It’s simply a technical statement asking for annulment for our vows and promises from the past year. This begs the question; why the hype? What are we even doing in the opening moments of this holy day?

According to Kabbalah, however, Kol Nidre is more than a technical vow-annulment procedure. By releasing our vows we are asking G‑d to reciprocate in kind. In the event that He has pledged not to bring the redemption just yet, or in the event that He made an oath to bring harsh judgments on His people in the following year, we ask that He release these vows and instead grant us a year of happiness and redemption.

This theme of reciprocity also explains why Tzedaka is such a key theme of the High Holy Days. By giving to good causes, we are displaying that we are worthy custodians of His money. Through this, we will merit a year filled with success and prosperity.

We ask that you find it in your hearts to support our efforts to provide enriching programs for

all by contributing to our Kol Nidre appeal. By donating, even a small amount, you become our partner in creating the bright future of Congregation Dor Tikvah!

Wishing you and yours a G’mar Chatima Tovah, and may you be sealed in the book of life, health and all that’s good!

Sholom S. Mimran, Rabbi


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