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Yom Kippur, or the Day of Atonement, is one of the most significant and solemn Jewish holidays. Its primary objective is spiritual cleansing and renewal, as individuals seek forgiveness for their sins and strive to improve themselves in the coming year. This observance is marked by several important aspects, including intensive prayer, fasting for over 24 hours, and abstaining from certain daily pleasures and activities. The ultimate goal of Yom Kippur is to facilitate a deeper connection with God and a heightened sense of morality, compassion, and humility among the people.
Yom Kippur's roots can be traced back to the ancient Israelites, who followed God's command for an annual day of atonement as described in the Torah. For the people of Israel today, this observance carries a unique significance, connecting them to the country's rich history, culture, and religious traditions. In addition, Yom Kippur is observed as a public holiday in Israel, with businesses, public transportation, and broadcast media closed in observance of the day. The holiday is often marked by somber gatherings and quiet reflection, providing a stark contrast to the bustling, modern landscape of Israeli society.
In Israel, various customs are observed during Yom Kippur. The fast, which lasts from sunset to sunset, begins with a pre-fast meal called the "Seuda Mafseket" and ends with a festive break-fast meal after the conclusion of the observance. During the holiday, many Israelis attend synagogue services for intensive prayers and the recitation of the Kol Nidre, an ancient prayer invoking the annulment of vows. These communal gatherings foster a collective spirit of reflection, repentance, and self-improvement. Yom Kippur is observed in Israel on the 10th day of the Hebrew month of Tishrei, typically falling in September or October on the Gregorian calendar.
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