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Yom Kippur in Israel


Yom Kippur is observed by Jews in the state of Israel and all over the world. It is the day of atonement in Judaism, and is often considered the holiest day of the year. Traditionally, Jews would observe this holy day by fasting for 25 hours and praying, as well as spending time in synagogue. In the religious sense, Yom Kippur is the closing time of the High Holy Days. God is supposed to write everyone’s faith on Rosh Hashana (the Jewish New Year) and then seal it on Yom Kippur. The daytime is meant not only to refrain from certain activities, but to think of all the wrongdoings throughout the past year. Jews are meant to rest all day and think, and not go to school or work.

Yom Kippur is inscribed in the Torah, or holy book, in Leviticus 23:27 as Yom HaKippurim (יוֹם הַכִּפּוּרִים). It is held on the tenth day of the month of Tishrei. Traditionally, Jews go by a lunar calendar, so all Jewish/Israeli holidays are held on different days than according to the regular, solar calendar. For instance, Yom Kippur last year was held on the nightfall of October 8th through the nightfall of October 9th.

Officially, Jews are supposed to restrain from eating, drinking, wearing leather shoes, bathing, washing, using perfumes or lotions or engaging in marital activities. This restraint period begins at 30 minutes before sundown and ending after nightfall the next day. Fasting is expected for healthy adults, but the old, young and sick do not have to participate. Jews are supposed to eat a large, festive meal the afternoon before Yom Kippur.

People who are religious will often be seen wearing white, to symbolize purity. Men wear a white kittel, a robe-like piece of clothing, for evening prayer.

Most Israelis are secular Jews (as are most throughout the world), but many secular Jews still celebrate this holiday over many others. Many fast or attend synagogue. On this day, no television broadcasts air, there is no public transport, airports are shut down, and all shops and businesses stay closed in the land of Israel. You are not supposed to eat in public, or drive a motorized vehicle, unless there is an emergency. Many secular Israelis have taken on the trend of biking or skating on the streets on the eve of Yom Kippur, because of the absense of cars. Last year, about 63% of Israelis were planning to fast, and it is expected to be the same this year.


One thought on “Yom Kippur in Israel

  1. Does the high priest still go to the holy of holiest to atone for the sins of the Jews. Or the holy of holiest doesn’t exist now.


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