When Satan Takes a Vacation - Kol Nidrei - Yom Kippur 5775

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This sermon gets personal and stirs the audience to recognize their true self, their Jewish identity. On Yom Kippur we recognize that we are all committed Jews. We may not always come to synagogue, our faith may not be expressed on a weekly basis, but tonight our deepest truth is expressed: we are children of Israel — we are fasting, praying, yearning, striving, repenting, we are committed to a Jewish future.

Today is our time, our space, to define ourselves. We must be the people we really are. This is the day to help us discover the center of our identity, and embrace it, so that in the year ahead we will live more generously and more Jewishly.

But it is not always an easy journey to find and hold onto our true Jewish identity; the path forward is littered with distractions. How do we translate the inspiration of Yom Kippur to action, especially, since 92% of resolutions are not fulfilled! The reason we so often fail to change is that usually, we’re fighting a battle we’re not strong enough to win. Humans are built to resist change, to default to behavior that is known and familiar. How do we avoid that pitfall and instead implement real change with the inspiration of Yom Kippur? The sermon provides a compelling solution to this dilemma, along with plenty of humor, anecdotes, and insights, including:

  • The doctor who lost patience with the rabbi
  • An enlightening conversation with the iPhone’s “Siri”
  • Why Baruch Shem is recited aloud on Yom Kippur
  • The secular politician who prayed for the first time in years
  • The positive definition of a “negative Jew”
  • How Jackie Robinson dealt with prejudice
  • Satan’s startling and deceptive behavior on his annual vacation day
  • A lesson from termites and a best-selling author
  • Learning from David on how to conquer our inner “Goliaths”
  • How to increase your Jewish practice without burning out
  • The man whose faith was reignited by a blackout
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