Yom Kippur, also known as The Day of Atonement, will be held on October 9th this year.
Yom Kippur is the holiest holy-day. It is a holiday of making amends, renewing relationships, and coming to peace with your past and future. In the days before the holiday, many Jews will ask forgiveness from their family and friends for any wrong-doings they feel have not been resolved. On the actual day, it is time to cleanse the soul. This is traditionally done by fasting for 25 hours. This is not just a food fast, but also a fast from many things including drinking and sex.
Fasting and forgiving for the year’s sins are not all. Yom Kippur is also about changing one’s ways. It is about becoming the best version of yourself for the coming year.
Yom Kippur is honored in a synagogue through a day of prayers. It begins just before sunset with a service called Kol Nidre. This service is an apology for being imperfect. The rest of the day is about forgiveness and confessions (Vidui). At the final service, the “gates” are sealed for the year in a service called Neilah. This coincides with the sealing of the book of life, which we talked about in our Rosh Hashana post. After Neilah, the shofar is sounded, and it is time to break fast! A large meal with family and friends is custom.
Overall, Yom Kippur is a time of reconciliation and positive change. If you want to participate, but do not know where to start, try calling an old friend… or your mother.
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