Understanding Yom Kippur from Mildura

Brian Erskine, Mildura

ABC Mildura-Swan Hill has interviewed Brian Erskine, a Jewish long-time resident of Mildura. On September 13, (Friday) night is the start of Yom Kippur or the Day of Atonement, one of the most important days on the Jewish calendar.

"There are quite a lot of rules for religious people on Yom Kippur, the day of atonement to spend it reflecting on their sins and charity to the poor.

"Jewish people have to think about any sins that they've done during the year and they attain for them this Saturday coming," says Mildura local Brian Erskine.

Brian arrived in Mildura with his family in 1956 and has bought up under Jewish faith.

Living in regional Australia has meant he wasn't able to keep up religious faith the way he would have liked.

"Because my parents came here when we were just young children, there's no Synagogue here in Mildura and the closest one was at Broken Hill, so it's very hard to practice.

"There's just a very small population of Jews that live outside the metropolitan areas because of the facilities," he says.

While Brian is proud of his religious upbringing he realises that his children are unlikely to carry on his faith.

"I guess in the future if one of the children wanted to convert (to Judaism) then I'd be quite happy but if they don't I'm also quite happy.

"It is a bit sad in a lot of ways but we live a beautiful life with our family so I can't be too sad about it," he says.

The quietly spoken Mildura resident says he's never had a problem living under the Jewish faith in the region but doesn't expect the religion to ever thrive away from the major cities.

"I wear the Star of David and most people do know that I am Jewish in Mildura but I've never had a problem here at all.

"It'll never be big in regional Australia because of the facilities," he says.

Listen to this interview on ABC Mildura - Swan Hill


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