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Local Jewish Communities Prepare for Yom Kippur

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VESTAL, N.Y. -

Local Jewish communities are preparing for Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, which begins on Friday night at sunset and will continue until sundown on Saturday.

"We have the time to reflect on our relationships, ways we could've been better individually, either as students, as friends, as community members," said Yitzhak Maurer, Hillel Executive Vice President.

Even though the Southern Tier has a low Jewish population, Binghamton University is made up of nearly 30% students of the Jewish faith. 

"We offer Reform, Conservative, and Orthodox services throughout the entire Yom Kippur starting with this evening," said Nataly Weiss, Hillel Executive Director.

Weiss says she expects nearly 1,000 students to show up to events throughout the next 24-hours and is proud of how her Organization can provide for students who are looking for a place to connect with others.

"Yom Kippur is one of two holidays that many students really are committed to and feel very connected to on many different levels and this is a time that we do come together as a community and really kick off the year," said Weiss.

"Everywhere people go, they just feel comfortable and in my mind, the best part of the Jewish community at Binghamton is that wherever you go - you just feel comfortable," said Joey Kirsch, Challah for Hunger Executive Board Member.

In addition to reflection and atonement, Jews will fast for the entire day - something that many say is a deeply emotional experience.

"It kind of reminds you of this time when you were hungry and to remember that even if you're upset or frustrated that you have that reminder throughout the whole year and give a really tangible physical reflection of that," said Maurer.

"The fast is hard, it's 25-hours, it's a long time," said Nicole Gleizer, Hillel Director of Shabbat Experience.

Hillel has programs for students and community members beginning Friday night with a pre-fast dinner in C4 Dining Hall and continuing until a Kiddush on Saturday night.

You can learn more about the work Hillel does at Binghamton University on their website.