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20 October 2014
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Yom Kippur - 04 October 2014

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Chief Rabbi

Yom Kippur is the most sacred and solemn day in the Jewish calendar.

  • It means Day of Atonement
  • It's a day to reflect on the past year and ask God's forgiveness for any sins
  • Jewish people fast for 25 hours

Getting ready for Yom Kippur

During the 10 days between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur everyone gets a chance to put things right with other people before asking God's forgiveness. This period is called The Days of Repentence or Days of Awe.

It's a time when Jews can make up for the wrongs of the past year and make a firm commitment to not do the same bad thing or things again.

What happens on Yom Kippur?

The special day of Yom Kippur is marked by Jewish people in a number of ways:

  • Many wear white as a symbol of purity
  • No food or drink is consumed for 25 hours. (Children under thirteen and people who are ill or pregnant do not have to fast)
  • No make-up or perfume is worn
  • No sex
  • No bathing
  • No leather shoes

In the synagogue

The most important part of Yom Kippur is the time spent in the synagogue. Even Jews who are not particularly religious will want to attend synagogue on Yom Kippur, the only day of the year with five services.

  • There are five services in the synagogue.
  • The day is spent in continuous prayer for forgiveness.
  • The sound of the shofar (ram's horn) marks the end of the holy day.

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