PELHAM, N.Y. Jewish members of the Pelham community and around the world will celebrate the holiday of Yom Kippur on Friday. Rabbi David Schuck of the Pelham Jewish Center has already begun to prepare the synagogue for services.Yom Kippur is a day for those of the Jewish faith to pray, reflect and atone for sins. Schuck said this is the one day of the year when Jews fast by refraining from eating, drinking, bathing and sexual activity."It's as close to death as we can get without dying," Schuck said.When the fast is over, Schuck said Jewish people should have a heightened and renewed sense of life.The Pelham Jewish Center will hold a service from 9:30 a.m. until approximately 7:30 p.m. with a small break at some point. The center will also have a service for children.Schuck said the spirit of Yom Kippur is particularly unique in a fast-paced, modern society."The remarkable thing about what we do is that we just don't do this as human beings in 2011," Schuck said.The rabbi said that attendance on Yom Kippur triples when compared to regular services. To prepare, volunteers and caretakers polish the silver at the center and set up a tent to add approximately 75 seats to the synagogue.While most suburban synagogues have full staffs, the Pelham Jewish Center only has one full-time and a handful of part-time employees. Schuck called the preparations for Yom Kippur "a huge organizational push."He also said that while suburban synagogues can sometimes have 1,500 or more members, the Pelham Jewish Center has a much smaller population."One of the nice things about this is we still maintain an intimacy in the service," Schuck said. "You don't feel like you're invisible."Though attendance at the Yom Kippur service is so much higher than regular services, Schuck is not bitter that those people do not attend more often. Instead, he chose to focus on the positive."I'm just happy that they're here for the day," Schuck said.
Contact Pelham reporter Andrew Meola at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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