Yom Kippur's Big Ask: Forgiveness

Apologies Can Be Life-Changing for Both Giver and Receiver

Thinkstock

By Lenore Skenazy

Published September 11, 2013, issue of September 13, 2013.
  • Print
  • Share Share
  • Single Page

When Eileen T. was just 16, she was going out with a boy who spent most of his time talking about another girl, Betty. “I didn’t know Betty, but I started to resent her,” Eileen recalled. The more he talked about Betty, the more Eileen — who’d prefer not to give her last name — seethed.

Three years she spent hating Betty.

Then, on a first date with a new guy named Terry — who later became her husband — “We were talking,” Eileen said, “and he said, ‘I asked you out because Betty said you have a really bubbly personality and are really fun.’ I literally died in my seat.”

Suffused with guilt, surprise and gratitude — a nauseating cocktail — Eileen forced herself to call Betty and blurt out the weird truth: “I told her, ‘I went out on a date with Terry, and he said you told him nice things about me, and I needed to apologize because the whole time I was dating so-and-so he kept talking about you, and it made me not like you.’”

Betty’s response? “She was shocked and happy,” Eileen said. In fact, she appreciated Eileen’s honesty so much that the women grew very close. So close that Eileen was in Betty’s wedding (which was not to the man obsessed with her). And now the two are still dear friends — 29 years later.

And that, folks, is what we are here to talk about today: the power of an apology.


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • What the foolish rabbi of Chelm teaches us about Israel and the Palestinian unity deal:
  • Mazel tov to Idina Menzel on making Variety "Power of Women" cover! http://jd.fo/f3Mms
  • "How much should I expect him and/or ask him to participate? Is it enough to have one parent reciting the prayers and observing the holidays?" What do you think?
  • New York and Montreal have been at odds for far too long. Stop the bagel wars, sign our bagel peace treaty!
  • Really, can you blame them?
  • “How I Stopped Hating Women of the Wall and Started Talking to My Mother.” Will you see it?
  • Taglit-Birthright Israel is redefining who they consider "Jewish" after a 17% drop in registration from 2011-2013. Is the "propaganda tag" keeping young people away?
  • Happy birthday William Shakespeare! Turns out, the Bard knew quite a bit about Jews.
  • Would you get to know racists on a first-name basis if you thought it might help you prevent them from going on rampages, like the recent shooting in Kansas City?
  • "You wouldn’t send someone for a math test without teaching them math." Why is sex ed still so taboo among religious Jews?
  • Russia's playing the "Jew card"...again.
  • "Israel should deal with this discrimination against Americans on its own merits... not simply as a bargaining chip for easy entry to the U.S." Do you agree?
  • For Moroccan Jews, the end of Passover means Mimouna. Terbhou ou Tse'dou! (good luck) How do you celebrate?
  • Calling all Marx Brothers fans!
  • What's it like to run the Palestine International Marathon as a Jew?
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.