Yom Kippur and the Shawshank Redemption

We were finishing up teaching our course on the “Liturgy of the Days of Awe” today and observed at the close to our class that we talked about many dramatic aspects of the worship of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, but not that much about theological concepts like repentance or atonement, nor especially about transformation. That’s because in particular we don’t know what transformation means, we noted.

One student chimed in that what we just said reminded him of a pivotal scene in the film, The Shawshank Redemption, wherein Morgan Freeman’s character is asked by the parole board if after serving forty years he feels as if he has been “rehabilitated.” He responds in a dramatic and memorable way.

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