Yom Kippur: The tenth day of the month of Tishrei

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Before I apologize for IB’s unintentional gaffe of the year, here’s a quick review of the upcoming Jewish High Holy Days.

Though I’ve made latkes (potato pancakes) for Jewish friends for Hanukkah, most of what I know about Yom Kippur I admittedly learned today from Wikipedia: “Yom Kippur … also known as Day of Atonement, is the holiest and most solemn day of the year for the Jews. Its central themes are atonement and repentance. Jews traditionally observe this holy day with a 25-hour period of fasting and intensive prayer, often spending most of the day in synagogue services. Yom Kippur completes the annual period known in Judaism as the High Holy Days or Yamim Nora’im (‘Days of Awe’). Yom Kippur is the tenth day of the month of Tishrei.”

There is mysticism and repentance involved with this High Holy Holiday – one of which appeals to me and the other which scares me (I won’t say which is which). To explain it succinctly, though, I’m again referencing Wikipedia: “According to Jewish tradition, God inscribes each person’s fate for the coming year into a book, the Book of Life, on Rosh Hashanah, and waits until Yom Kippur to ‘seal’ the verdict. During the Days of Awe, a Jew tries to amend his or her behavior and seek forgiveness for wrongs done against God (bein adam leMakom) and against other human beings (bein adam lechavero). The evening and day of Yom Kippur are set aside for public and private petitions and confessions of guilt (Vidui). At the end of Yom Kippur, one considers oneself absolved by God.”

Now, for the apology …

One would have to be stupid or insensitive to purposely schedule an event (let alone a significant event) in conflict with Yom Kippur. Foolish or … as in our case … uninformed.

Unfortunately, we inadvertently scheduled our Extreme Networking Event, held annually for Executive Register honorees at unique business venues, during the Yom Kippur holidays.

In 2011, Yom Kippur began on Friday, Oct. 7, and ended in the evening of Saturday, Oct. 8. Our 2012 event was being planned for September. The people involved were not aware that Yom Kippur, like the Christian Easter holiday (but unlike Christmas, which is always Dec. 25) moves from date to date, year to year.

IB relies on electronic calendars for scheduling, and the holiday period is not listed on my Entourage calendar or iPhone or on our event planner’s Outlook calendar. So the mistake went unnoticed by all involved. However, as soon as the invitations were opened, someone who wanted to celebrate their holy days and also attend our event called to let us know of the gaffe.

It’s easy to say, “No disrespect meant, no foul,” but that’s not really an apology. From my heart, I apologize to anyone who felt that IB ignored or minimized the significance or importance of the High Holy Days due to our scheduling conflict. I’d also like to add that sponsors were not aware of the conflict, either, as they were not part of the scheduling process.

Unfortunately, this isn’t a mistake we may be able to rectify completely this year, as vendor agreements for that date have been finalized, and airport availability is limited. Also, more than a hundred people have already committed to that date by RSVP since the invitations went out late last week.

The best I can offer is a sincere apology, and note that a lesson was learned and, in the process, we all learned more about the Jewish High Holy Days.

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