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Yom Kippur is in many ways a dress rehearsal for death - we refuse food and do not bathe, we wear white like a burial shroud, and we pray to be judged favourably.

One Yom Kippur, many years ago, I got curious: How exactly are we evaluated when we die? What are the specific criteria? Unsurprisingly, thousands of years of Jewish thought provide some helpful guidelines:

  • Treat friends royally and pleasantly

  • Act with care and lovingkindness

  • Argue wisely

  • Cheer the despondent

  • Feed the hungry

If we squint, fulfilling these criteria is almost too easy around the holiday season. We gather with friends, family, and loved ones. We greet them warmly, in celebratory spirit. If there is any arguing to be had over the dinner table, we try our best to approach it wisely.

But what about feeding the hungry?

This year, there are 6.9 million food-insecure Canadians. Their fast is not chosen, and does not end on Yom Kippur. They are hungry. They are despondent. And they are in need of our lovingkindness.

This High Holiday season, let love and compassion flow beyond your home. Let it flow across the country and between communities, nourishing Jews and non-Jews alike. Let it fill plates and pantries across the country.

Before the High Holidays begin, consider doing one last mitzvah: make the New Year sweet for someone in need.

Shana Tova,

Izzy Waxman

Executive Director,

Mazon Canada


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