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Yom Kippur: You can't atone on Facebook

Published: Wednesday, Sept. 26 2012 4:00 p.m. MDT

Israelis walk in the middle of an empty street during the Jewish holiday of Yom Kippur in Jerusalem, Thursday, Oct. 9, 2008. Yom Kippur, or Israelis walk in the middle of an empty street during the Jewish holiday of Yom Kippur in Jerusalem, Thursday, Oct. 9, 2008. Yom Kippur, or "Day of Atonement," is the holiest of Jewish holidays when observant Jews atone for the sins of the past year. (Associated Press)

Our take: Today, Jews across the globe are celebrating Yom Kippur, a day of atonement for last year's sins. Like all faiths, Judaism is navigating the relationship between faith and technology, with some believers turning to Facebook to confess and atone. In this article from The Huffington Post, Ann Brenoff discusses what does and does not count as an apology when Yom Kippur and Facebook collide.

Social media plays a huge role in my life, but not on Yom Kippur the day of atonement. As Jews worldwide mark the holiday that begins at sundown, my Facebook feed has been filling up with "friends" issuing blanket apologies to me and the rest of the Facebook for however they may have offended us.

Sorry, but it just feels wrong; you can't just e-mail in your sins and call it a day.

Yom Kippur, for strangers to Judaism, is the last chance Jews have to wipe our slates clean of the debris of the previous year and be inscribed in the book of life. We begin by apologizing to those who we have offended, slighted, hurt by exclusion, wounded by intention. It's part of a process of examining how we behave and how we can improve ourselves in the coming year.

Yet here is an example of what I read on Facebook:

"To all my family, friends and anyone out there that i may have hurt, offended or pissed off in anyway shape of form. I wanted to apologize from the bottom of my heart. I am very sorry and i truly hope you can forgive me. I wish this year only bring us smiles, laughter, good health, wealth and Happiness. I love u all. Gmar hatima tova and an easy fast."

I'd like to say it's better than nothing, but truth is, I don't think it is.

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