Some At-Home Yom Kippur Resources

Following up on my previous blog about the importance of avoiding synagogue this Yom Kippur because of COVID-19, here are some resources that might be useful for those who choose to pray from home:

  1. Or Torah Stone, the global network of Modern Orthodox Torah education, has a Yom Kippur prayer book that includes an abbreviated version of the service, and a guide to which prayers to say/skip when praying without a minyan: English Version Hebrew Version
  2. Or Torah Stone also put out a guide, in Hebrew, to some inspirational reflections and poems drawn from modern Israeli culture.
  3. Bina, the secular pluralistic yeshiva, has a Hebrew collection of Yom Kippur prayers and reflections. They also have a series of online events (in English) to help people prepare for Yom Kippur at home.
  4. Kehillat Tzion, an egalitarian congregation in Jerusalem, is offering online Yom Kippur services that can be watched through a “quiet channel”, meaning that you don’t have to touch any buttons or operate electricity on Yom Tov in order to see the services. For more information about service times and how to set up the channel before Yom Tov, please click here.
  5. The Nishmat Center for Advanced Torah Study for Women has some words of encouragement for those praying at home, as well as an overview of which prayers can/can’t be said without a minyan.
  6. The Modern Orthodox rabbinic organization Tzohar has put out prayer booklets that can be printed and used at home.  The Ashkenazi and Sefardi booklets are linked to in this article.
  7. The Masorti movement in Israel has put out a special Yom Kippur machzor this year that can be printed and used at home; they also have put out Youtube videos of the different Yom Kippur prayers. The link to both can be found here.
  8. This list of resources for doing the High Holidays at home which I first saw courtesy of my friend, Rabbi Eryn London, includes links to prayer booklets, guides, words of inspiration, and more.
  9. Benjy Singer has compiled a summary of Orthodox laws relating to Yom Kippur. Laws that are specific to Yom Kippur during Coronavirus are in bold letters.
  10. The Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies has published a Yom Kippur companion.
  11. For those looking for an inspirational way to go into Yom Kippur, I recommend the Yishai Rebo song based on the the recapitulation of the Yom Kippur Temple service recited during Mussaf.
  12. ¬†This Yom Kippur might be harder. It might feel weird. You might find praying at home to be extremely meaningful. You might find it boring. You might find it lonely. You might find it hard to pray this year at all. I just want to say: It’s ok. It’s ok to feel whatever you’re feeling. God created us and knows our hearts, and knows all the difficulties that we have been through this year. When God looks down on us, He sees us where we are, with all of the challenges we are facing. Yom Kippur is the day when we let ourselves get vulnerable with our Creator -and this year, part of that vulnerability might allowing ourselves to show ourselves to God in our pain and our loneliness, without having to pretend that everything’s ok.

Wishing you an easy and meaningful fast.

About the Author
Shayna Abramson, a part-Brazilian native Manhattanite, studied History and Jewish Studies at Johns Hopkins University before moving to Jerusalem. She has also spent some time studying Torah at the Drisha Institute in Manhattan, and has a passion for soccer and poetry. She is currently pursuing an M.A. in Political Science from Hebrew University, and is a rabbinic fellow at Beit Midrash Har'el.
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