Yom Kippur

Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, is the holiest day in Judaism. It is a day of fasting and prayer that is celebrated on the 10th of the Hebrew month of Tishrei.

Yom Kippur marks the end of the Ten Days of Repentance. According to Jewish belief, on Yom Kippur judgment is passed on each person for the coming year.

Jews traditionally fast from the evening of the holy day until the following night. This is a holiday ordained in the Torah, where it is called a Shabbat of Solemn Rest, a day on which no productive work can be done.

Even though most of the Jewish population in Israel is not religiously observant, Yom Kippur has and remains a special day for all and has retained its unique character. Many Jews who define themselves as secular, attend synagogue and fast on this special day.


 

Holiday Customs

Fasting – The Torah states that on this day Jews are to “afflict their souls” by abstaining from both food and drink.

Blowing of the shofar – At the close of the holiday, the shofar (ram’s horn) is blown.

Selichot – In the days leading up to Yom Kippur and on the holiday itself, it is customary to ask people for forgiveness. According to tradition, Yom Kippur atones for the sins between man and God, but not between people, who must grant each other forgiveness.

Important Information

On Yom Kippur there is almost no traffic on the roads. Instead, you will see the streets filled with children on bicycles, skates and skateboards. All businesses are closed on Yom Kippur, including those that are usually open on Shabbat. All Israeli radio and TV broadcasts are also suspended.