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Yom Kippur – Day of Atonement

Friday night is Yom Kipur. Here’s is a little write up about the holiday, condensed and edited from Wikipedia:

Yom Kippur Also known as Day of Atonement, is the holiest and most solemn day of the year in the Jewish calendar. Its central themes are atonement and repentance. Jews traditionally observe this holy day with a 25-hour period of fasting and intensive prayer, often spending most of the day in synagogue services.

Five prohibitions are observed: No eating and drinking. No wearing of leather shoes. No bathing or washing. No anointing oneself with perfumes or lotions. No marital relations.

According to Jewish tradition, God inscribes each person’s fate for the coming year into a book, the Book of Life, on Rosh Hashanah, and waits until Yom Kippur to “seal” the verdict. During the Days of Awe, a Jew tries to amend his or her behavior and seek forgiveness for wrongs done against God and against other human beings. The evening and day of Yom Kippur are set aside for public and private petitions and confessions of guilt. At the end of Yom Kippur, one considers oneself absolved by God.

As one of the most culturally significant Jewish holidays, Yom Kippur is observed by many secular Jews who may not observe other holidays. Many secular Jews attend synagogue on Yom Kippur—for many secular Jews the High Holy Days are the only recurring times of the year in which they attend synagogue, causing synagogue attendance to soar.

Yom Kippur is a legal holiday in the modern state of Israel. There are no radio or television broadcasts, there is no public transportation, and all shops and businesses are closed. There are no flights in and out of Israel on Yom Kippur, airports are shut down as of 2pm on the eve. In 1973, an air raid siren was sounded on the afternoon of Yom Kippur and radio broadcasts were resumed to alert the public to the surprise attack on Israel by Egypt and Syria that launched the Yom Kippur War.

In 2008, 63% of the Jewish people of Israel said that they were intending to fast on Yom Kippur. This may be the reason that it is very common in Israel to wish “Tsom Kal” ([an] easy fast) or “Tsom Mo’iil” ([an] efficient fast) to everyone before Yom Kippur, even if one does not know whether they will fast or not.

It is considered impolite to eat in public on Yom Kippur or to drive a motor vehicle. There is no legal prohibition on driving or eating in public but in practice such actions are frowned upon, except in emergency services.


Video Courtesy of Foxnews

To all those observing Yom Kippur: May you be sealed in the book of life

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