It’s the eve of Yom Kippur and the Jewish world prepares for the fasting and the prayers. As I start to build a tradition also for the Jewish holidays on ‘The Catcher in the Sand’ here are a few works of art and pieces of music inspired by The Day of Atonement, as well as youTube clips related to the way Yom Kippur is happening in Israel.





One of the most famous paintings inspired by Yom Kippur is ‘Jews Praying in the Synagogue on Yom Kippur’ by the Jewish Galician painter Maurycy Gottlieb. The gathering of the Jews in the synagogue, their passion to prayer, the overall atmosphere has both historical accuracy as well as a timeliness that crosses the centuries.



Here is another work inspired by Yom Kippur painted by the Hungarian-born painter Isidor Kaufmann.


(video source rebezra)


Today in Israel the traditions differ from the different communities that returned from exile. In Jerusalem Sephardic community a month of Slikhot (Forgiveness) prayers culminate in the eve on Yom Kippur (by the time I am writing this blog entry) with a huge gathering and a community prayer at the Western Wall.


(video source damcenenroe)


You may know one of the famous songs of Leonard Cohen  ‘Who by Fire’. Here is a version recorded with the great jazz saxophonist Sony Rollins in 1989.


(video source jordannnnnn)


The song is actually an adaptation of a Yom Kippur prayer. Here it is in another version sang by Leonard Cohen, with the Hebrew and English words.


(video source Bigratus)


The most famous text related to Yom Kippur is Kol Nidre, the declaration of repentance and the pledge taken at the opening of the service in the synagogue. In the traditional service the text is in Aramaic. It inspired a number of musical pieces. A traditional variant is featured in the first spoken (and sang) film The Jazz Singer (1927) by Al Jolson (Asa Yoelon). The story of the song in the famous film is described in a New York Times article.


(video source lynnharrell)


The Kol Nidrei for cello & orchestra, Op. 47, Composed by Max Bruch is the most famous classical music variant. Last year I brought here the splendid interpretation of Jacqueline du Pres, here is another exquisite rendering by Lynn Harrell at the Papal Concert to commemorate the Holocaust as the Vatican in Rome on April 7, 1994.


(video source rapunzelrow)


On a lighter note, not everybody fasts and prays on Yom Kippur in Israel.  As traffic completely stops kids on bicycles (and not only kids) take control of the streets for one full day.


Gmar Hatima Tova – May you be inscribed (in the Book of Life) for Good