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September Spotlight: Jewish High Holidays

We are honored to join our Jewish community members in celebrating the High Holy Days. Pepperdine Caruso Law alumnus Jacob Glucksman (JD '05) has this reflection to offer:

For Jews throughout the world, the High Holy Days (Rosh Hashana, Yom Kippur, and Sukkot) mark a time of celebration, reflection, forgiveness, and introspection. The High Holy Days comprise a period of several weeks whereby members of Jewish faith gather in prayer to both pray for God's forgiveness from our transgressions throughout the year and to thank God for sustaining our lives. On Rosh Ha'Shana (literally translated to "head of the year") we welcome the new year and thank God for inscribing us in the Book of Life for another year. Rosh Ha'shana also begins a period of preparation to ask for God's forgiveness for our sins throughout the year on Yom Kippur. Yom Kippur is often mischaracterized as the "holiest" day of the year; however, Jewish sages agree that the Sabbath should be recognized as the holiest (after all, the Sabbath is specifically enumerated in the 10 Commandments). The High Holy Days are often viewed as solemn and serious, which they most certainly are, but it is also a time to celebrate and thank God for our many blessings in life and come together with friends and family to rejoice as a community.

As a criminal defense practitioner, the theme of forgiveness that is central to the Jewish High Holy Days plays an integral part of my everyday life. Most, if not all, criminal defendants feel a deep sense of regret for the crimes they commit. One of my jobs as an attorney is to help clients express and demonstrate their remorse and regret to the court and to victims of crime. I often explain to a client charged with a criminal offense that the victim of the crime may not fully forgive them for a crime committed, however, that should not stop the client from seeking forgiveness. A criminal defendant may pay restitution, contribute to the community through service work, or serve time in custody for the wrongs they've committed. All these methods involve accepting their transgressions and moving towards a path to forgiveness.

Seeking forgiveness from others is a wonderful thing. It strengthens us spiritually, emotionally, and even physically. Forgiveness, in the form of rehabilitation, is also an important objective of the American criminal justice system. Our laws do not merely focus on punishment, but rather they aim to help others heal their lives through rehabilitation, resolution, and forgiveness. As an active member of the Pepperdine community, I am fortunate to be part of a profession and religion that places a high value and strong emphasis on forgiveness, and I celebrate Pepperdine for giving me the opportunity to help others every single day.