An Amazing Evening

Tuesday evening I attended the Yom Kippur service at Temple Emanu El.

Temple Emanu El in Houston

The Synagogue

The Synagogue was beautiful, large, and tastefully done. The presence of the law of Moses and the Prophets was obvious, and good.

The Service

Yom Kippur is the Great Day of Atonement found in Leviticus 16 and perhaps the greatest of the high holy days in the Jewish calendar, perhaps only Pesach, or Passover, equals it.

The service was two hours long, and the congregation of about 1500 attendees stood for most of it. Standing is a demonstration of honor and respect for Yahweh and for Torah. I’ll admit my feet were tired and sore.

The service consisted of prayers, songs, and readings. It was very well done and deeply personal.

Standing For Most of The Service, Both Young and Old

Some Observations

  1. I have rarely been among people in possession of such a reverential focus. They didn’t fidget, shift, or move. They stood quietly in honor of Yahweh.
  2. The music was phenomenal. Some was acapella, some with a string ensemble, and some with an organ. It stirred me greatly.
  3. The prayers, of which there were many, were sung by the Cantor, in Hebrew. I didn’t follow most of it but was moved by all of it.
  4. There were moments of great passion and of quiet reflection.
  5. I couldn’t help noticing the lack of technology. There were no screens, projectors, or monitors. There were no power point presentations. Nothing but the hearts and voices of people of a deep and abiding faith.

Honoring Their Ancestors

One part of the service honored their ancestors. When this was introduced my immediate thought was grandparents, great-grandparents and so forth. Nope. They honored Abraham and Sara, Isaac and Rebekah, and Jacob and Rachael.

I sat there in awe as I released I was in the company of hundreds of people who traced their ancestry to Abraham. Frankly, it was inspiring.


Part of the high holy days of October includes fasting, confession, and repentance for sins. There was a deep emphasis on the recognition of sin and for seeking Adonai’s mercy. It was convicting, impactful, and cleansing.

Yeshua Ben Yosef

I’m a believer in Yeshua Ben Yosef, or Jesus son of Joseph. The people around me were not. My heart aches for them and when I pray for the Jewish people, I pray not for nationalism but for their acceptance of Jesus as the Son of God.

To Close

I completely enjoyed my visit. The service was marvelous and their devotion to God was every bit as real and sincere as anyone I know.

By the way. How is your faith in Jesus? Is it strong? Are you fully engulfed in a life devoted to serving and honoring him? Am I?

Just a thought.


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