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We asked you to share your sins. Here’s what 127 readers said.

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When I was in college, I never went home for Yom Kippur. I tried to sleep late in my dorm to make the fast (seem) shorter, then spent most of the day in services at Yale’s Battell Chapel, where my friend Jamie Feldman and I would whisper alternate lyrics to the “u’netenah tokef” prayer.  Instead of “who by fire and who by water, who by sword and who by wild beast,” we would make up dumb ways to die —  long before that became a viral YouTube thing.

Who by not looking both ways before they cross the street? Who by leaning too far back in her chair? Who by having something go down the wrong pipe?

This year, u’netenah tokef is all too real. Who by this awful virus, who by police brutality, who for lack of food, who in deep isolation — and, yes, who by fire in the northwestern United States, who by water in the southeast. Far, far too many people, including  Ruth Bader Ginsburg, my tikkun olam hero Freddie Pressman, my first spin teacher Ellen Grishman.

Readers share their sins ahead of Yom Kippur

Readers share their sins ahead of Yom Kippur

Making our prayers personal also makes them powerful. A few weeks ago, we asked readers to share what they were repenting for this year, and 127 responded.

You wrote about being ungrateful, or not accepting people as they are. About not doing enough to fight injustice. Working too much and neglecting family or taking friends for granted. A number of you said you had wished ill on others — people who don’t wear masks, people who support the politician you despise, people who talk too slowly. You lamented your procrastination, your impatience, your pessimism. We’ll be sharing these on social media throughout the 25-hour Yom Kippur fast, for those who are online. Here is a taste: 


For the sins we committed by …
…being snarky, being impatient with a new learner, being annoyed with people who don’t do things my way, or on my timeframe.
…interrupting people when they are talking…being impatient with people who think or speak more slowly than I like…being intolerant of people who talk incessantly and cannot tolerate silence…being judgmental….preferring to remain invisible in my comnunity. 
…neglecting to acknowledge people who help me.
…saying “yes” to too many thing.
…procrastinating by surfing.
…wishing that Trump and people in the current administration would contract Covid-19.
…blaming others instead of looking at myself … not appreciating I’m an introvert and asking too much of myself socially….negative thinking that loops and grows…sometimes forgetting that I’m in God’s hands.
…hiding from myself.

Readers share their sins ahead of Yom Kippur


…not being authentic.
…reading The New York Times right before I fall asleep only to wake up at 3 a.m. with my heart pounding through my chest.
…in answering voicemails with texts.
_…letting fear take over.

…not listening…not validating another person’s right to an opinion.
…not seeing the humanity in those closest to me.
…not going through the boxes.
…lying to my husband rather than having the argument.

Readers share their sins ahead of Yom Kippur


…noticing the terribly thin woman crouched by the side of the road, but not turning around and driving back to help her with money and masks, both of which I keep in my car to give away to folks like her.
…not holding others accountable for racism.
…by giving teenage eye-rolls to groups larger than 10 not wearing masks.
…yelling at my kids, whom I love more than anything. Sigh.
…lying to myself about my sexuality.
…feeling more comfortable when I’m in my Jewish bubble than when I’m not.
…being too proud to acknowledge my mistakes.
…telling selected versions of the truth when I wanted something to go my way…trying to control the lives of other people and trying to be in total control of my own life…being a people pleaser.
…not savoring the blessings. 


Your weekend reads

Here are some highlights from the Forward over the past week for you to savor over Shabbat and the holiday. You can download and print a PDF of these here, or just click on any of the links below.

Readers share their sins ahead of Yom Kippur

Readers share their sins ahead of Yom Kippur

Readers share their sins ahead of Yom Kippur

Readers share their sins ahead of Yom Kippur

Readers share their sins ahead of Yom Kippur

Readers share their sins ahead of Yom Kippur

Readers share their sins ahead of Yom Kippur

For Yom Kippur, Forward readers share their sins

Author

Jodi Rudoren

Jodi Rudoren

Jodi Rudoren became Editor-in-Chief of The Forward, the nation’s oldest independent Jewish news organization, in September 2019 after more than two decades as a reporter and editor at The New York Times. She is helping lead a transformation of the storied 123-year-old institution, a nonprofit that went digital-only in early 2019.

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We asked you to share your sins. Here’s what 127 readers said.

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