Yom Kippur

Yom Kippur Quick Facts - IL

AKA NameDay of Atonement
HashtagsCompiled on#YomKippur
Related Hashtags#Israel
2024 Date11 October 2024
2025 Date2 October 2025

Yom Kippur

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Yom Kippur History

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.

Yom Kippur facts

  • It is customary to eat a festive meal on the Eve of Yom Kippur with round challah bread, a meat meal and sustaining foods. One is not allowed to risk one's life and thus anyone in danger of life from fasting, including the young and sick are not allowed to fast. Yom Kippur is the only Jewish fast observed on a Sabbath, due to its importance.
  • Yom Kippur Liturgy in Orthodox and most Traditional communities includes Kol Nidre prayer in which Jews annul all their vows and Avinu Malkeinu, 'Our father our King'.
  • The Jewish tradition states that God inscribes each person's fate for the coming year into the Book of Life on Rosh Hashanah, and the verdict is sealed on Yom Kippur.
  • Many people observing Yom Kippur wear white clothing, which symbolizes purity and the cleansing of one's soul. This custom is also linked to the white garments worn by the High Priest during the Temple service.
  • On the evening before Yom Kippur, it is customary for Jews living in Israel to participate in a pre-fast meal known as "seuda mafseket." This meal consists of foods like challah bread, fish, and chicken, and is meant to sustain individuals throughout the fast.

Top things to do in Israel for Yom Kippur

  • Attend or watch a Yom Kippur service. You can watch a Yom Kippur service on Youtube.
  • Learn about the Yom Kippur war. You can watch a documentary on the Yom Kippur war on YouTube.
  • Many Jews wear white clothing during Yom Kippur as a symbol of purity and to remind themselves of the burial shrouds in which the dead are traditionally wrapped.
  • Located in Jerusalem, the Western Wall is considered the holiest site in Judaism. Many visitors from around the world join local Jews in prayers and reflection at the Wall during Yom Kippur.

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