ATONEMENT and repentance are themes that are central to Yom Kippur, the holiest day in the Jewish calendar.
Yom Kippur completes the annual period known as the High Holy Days or Days of Awe that begins with the Jewish New Year – Rosh Hashanah.
What is Yom Kippur? How is it celebrated?
Yom Kippur is a festival held on the tenth day of Tishri, the seventh month of the Jewish calendar.
It is also known as the Day of Atonement or the “Sabbath of Sabbaths”, and is considered the holiest day of the year.
Traditionally it is considered the day Moses received the Ten Commandments.
Observant Jews fast for 25 hours and visit a synagogue to pray for most of the day, asking God to forgive their sins.
They are not allowed to wash or use perfumes or lotions, wear leather shoes, or have sex.
Many wear white as a symbol of purity.
Unlike most days which have three prayer sessions, on Yom Kippur there are five: Maariv, Shacharit, Musaf, Minchah and Neilah.
The day before Yom Kippur is marked by giving to charity and a festive meal in the afternoon, perhaps including stuffed dumplings and challah bread dipped in honey
After the fast, the meal could include kugel, a pudding made from egg noodles or potato.
When is Yom Kippur 2019?
The tenth day of Tishri this year is on October 9 according to the Western calendar.
By tradition, a Jewish day begins and ends at sundown.
Therefore Yom Kippur in 2019 will begin at sunset on October 8 and end at nightfall on October 9.
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What is the connection to Rosh Hashanah?
Rosh Hashanah, often referred to as Jewish New Year, is a two day festival beginning on the first day of Tishri.
In 2019 it ran from sunset on September 29 to sunset on October 1.
Yom Kippur marks the end of the High Holy Days, also known as the Days of Awe or the Ten Days of Repentance which begin with Rosh Hashanah.
During this period, Jews are meant to reflect on their lives and resolve to improve themselves.
Jews believe God balances a person’s good deeds over the past year against their wrongdoings.
By tradition, God writes down everyone’s fate for the coming year at Rosh Hashanah, but the book is not sealed until the end of the Ten Days when people have atoned for their sins.
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