Most of us have heard of Yom Kippur, but if you didn’t grow up in the Jewish faith, you might not fully understand this important holiday. Yom Kippur is the second of the Jewish High Holidays and a time to focus on self improvement. The holiday begins in the evening of Tuesday, October 8 and ends in the evening of Wednesday, October 9. This time is traditionally observed with a full day of fasting and prayer, often spending much of the day in synagogue services.
Yom Kippur is also known as the Day of Atonement. According to Jewish tradition, God inscribes each person’s fate for the coming year into a book, the Book of Life, on Rosh Hashanah, and waits until Yom Kippur to “seal” the verdict. During that time, you’re to gain introspection, change your behavior and seek forgiveness for wrongs against God and other humans. The evening and day of Yom Kippur are set aside for public and private petitions and confessions of guilt. At the end of Yom Kippur, one hopes that they have been forgiven by God.
Large meals and festivities often mark the time just before and after Yom Kippur, with special food like challah. Challah is a special braided bread — click here for recipe to try making it at home.
According to Time magazine, “the best greeting to give to someone observing Yom Kippur in English is ‘have an easy fast.’ For those who are not fasting, but are observing the Yom Kippur, you can wish them a ‘Good Yuntif,’ or ‘Yom Tov’ which is Yiddish and Hebrew, respectively, for ‘Have a good holy day.’”