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We want to hear your stories about the Kol Nidre.
How did it touch you or those you know?
Please add your voice to the 18 voices shaped by this special prayer.
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The "voice" of David Cohen of Maryland Heights, MO:
In November of 1992, we brought home our newly-adopted daughter from the Philippines.  She was tiny for an almost-three-year-old, developmentally delayed, and absolutely beautiful, more than in any of the photos we'd seen.  She was the answer to our hope for starting a family, and we were lucky to have found her and brought her home in a fairly short period of time.
We soon learned that her health was rather fragile; she was in and out of the hospital frequently with unexplained fevers and seizures for which the doctors couldn't find a cause.  Our lives were in total chaos, as we never knew if we'd have to rush yet again to the emergency room, sometimes as many as three or four times in a week.  There were occasions on which we almost lost her, and one happened during the Yamim Noraim.  Our daughter was in the hospital again on her first Kol Nidre night.
Unable to attend services, my wife insisted that I at least go home and get some rest while she remained at the hospital with her.  I was exhausted, depressed, and my tears of fear and frustration flowed freely once I settled into a chair and was able to let my emotions free.  I had never missed Kol Nidre services in my entire adult life, and this night in particular was one filled with fear for our daughter's health, doubt about whether we as parents had missed something or done something wrong, and frustration with the doctors who, for almost a year, had been unable to diagnose the root of our little one's problem.  If being judged by God wasn't enough to consider, certainly trying to judge ourselves as parents—or be judged as such by others—was weighing heavily on our psyches.  My Kol Nidre that fearful night, however, turned out to be an unusually holy experience.
I had an LP made by Cantor Richard Botton of Central Synagogue in New York City.  I'd worked with him many times as a substitute organist/choir director, and he gave me this recording with a beautiful inscription to me on the dust jacket.  One of the tracks was the Kol Nidre, and this night it was to be my lifeboat during a stormy period in my life.
After saying the appropriate blessing, I placed my tallit around my shoulders, removed the record from its sleeve, and placed it on the turntable.  I carefully placed the needle at the beginning of the track, closed my eyes, and listened as the strains of the music bathed me in the haunting melody.  My tears suddenly flowed again, anguish and worry swirling about my mind.   When the music finished, I raised the needle, and placed it a second time on the record.  This time the tears began to abate, the sounds of the music now becoming a source of comfort as the realization of its sustaining power through the millenia came to mind.   I played it for the requisite third time, and when the last notes died away, I felt a new confidence that somehow God's mercy would descend upon our daughter and r'fuah shleimah would be her reward.
Indeed, within two weeks, a new doctor pinpointed the cause of her problem, and she began the process of healing.  Is there a relationship here?  Probably not, but what I know for sure is that the healing it brought to me endured through the following months until the next Yom Kippur.  Each year since has brought continued challenges to our daughter, but also gratifying improvements. 
Our daughter gained a baby brother - also Filipino - two years after this episode.  He is also challenged, but differently so.  He's a great brother and a good son.  The two of them have brought us much naches, and have made us realize the strength that God has implanted within us to persevere on their behalf.  Raising children, however they come into a family, is never an easy task, but we've been doubly blessed to give life and love to two individuals who may very well have perished had we not been lucky enough to find them. 
Kol Nidre allows us to be freed from vows we were coerced into making.  But it also reminds us each year of the unbroken promises we made to the birthparents of our children, people whose identities we don't know, but to whom we will always be grateful.