The Story of Jonah


It’s traditional on Yom Kippur afternoon to tell the biblical story of Jonah. Here's a modern retelling:

One day God says to Jonah that people in a far-off city are treating each other badly. Jonah should stop what he’s doing, go there, and tell the people to change their behavior..

Jonah says to himself, “No thank you. I’m not getting involved.” He boards a boat sailing in the opposite direction.

Unfortunately for Jonah, God makes the sea stormy. The sailors realize that Jonah has angered God by running away. When they ask Jonah how to make the seas calm again, Jonah insists that they throw him overboard.

Before Jonah has a chance to swim, a giant whale comes along and swallows him. From inside the whale’s belly, Jonah prays to God. When the whale spits Jonah out onto land, Jonah knows that he must do what God told him to do in the first place.

Jonah travels to this far-off city and speaks out. He tells the residents that they must treat each other kindly. They take Jonah’s message to heart and begin to change, and God forgives them.

Jonah says to God: “Really? You forgive them,  just like that?”

The answer is yes. Everyone has the power to forgive. Everyone can show
compassion and kindness to others.

Family Reflection: When have you run away from responsibility?

When have you called someone out for acting badly?

When have you forgiven someone?