The hearts of the children were still pure—this thing we see, what is it? opened the Holy Ark and searched in the assembled crowd for those who would be honored by standing to the right and left of the chazzan.
The chazzan instructed that the windows be closed, so he wouldn’t be struck with a chill, and he began reciting Kol Nidre—“ …
Yom Kippur is the Jewish holiday of repentance, a time for Jews to repent for their sins and reflect on their behaviour in the past and coming year.
As Soussloff writes in Jewish Identity in Modern Art History, “Yom Kippur is also the occasion in the Jewish year when the dead are solemnly commemorated (in the service called Yizkor), and Gottlieb has injected into this picture several prominent self-memorials.” In his book Painting a People, Ezra Mendelsohn confirms that Gottlieb’s subject in this painting is the Days of Atonement: “Nathan Samuely, who discussed the work with Gottlieb in 1878, does specifically connect it, in his German essay on the artist published in 1885, with Yom Kippur, and informs us that the artist himself had the idea of painting it during the days of repentance preceding this holiday.” The painting is composed of glazed (semi-transparent) oil paint.
During the late 19th century, Jews in what is now Ukraine were living under the auspices of the Russian Empire, in the Pale of Settlement.
Antisemitic discrimination was systemic and everpresent, and pogroms and expulsions occurred.
There is a Torah scroll in the center of the composition, stained glass windows in the back, and candles on the top left.
Women look on from the women's balcony; it has been suggested that one of the women is a depiction of Laura, the artist's fiancée.
It’s enough for a man such as myself to pray that which is written in the in hand, and the reflection of the holiness of the day shone in their faces.
Standing next to them were their sons and daughters.