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  • Writer's picturedanaevankaplan


We brought a goat to the synagogue in Jamaica. It was a great way to show the children how the Bible can come alive. The dictionary defines a scapegoat as someone meant to bear the blame for others. Originally, a scapegoat was a goat let loose in the forest on Yom Kippur after the high priest symbolically laid the sins of the people on its head. You can find this described in the book of Leviticus, chapter 16.

We were looking for a way to make Yom Kippur memorable for the children and so we came up with the idea of bringing a real live goat to the synagogue. Now, it is not normal practice to bring an animal inside a synagogue, and so we decided we would just bring him into the courtyard.

We didn't want to go too much into the practices of ancient Judaism because two goats were chosen by lot, one was offered as a blood sacrifice, and the other was sent away into the wilderness, presumably to die there. So it didn't end well for either of the goats selected, and we didn't want the kids having nightmares or thinking that God was not animal-friendly.

Here is me officiating over the Parents' Blessing in the synagogue in KIngston:

It did seem like a great way to make the Bible come alive for children and they were amazed to see this goat suddenly show up in the afternoon of Yom Kippur.

You can see that they're trying to give him an afternoon snack, but it looks like the goat is fasting for Yom Kippur. Either that, or he just doesn't like green leaves.

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