Yom Kippur

The Jewish high holy days will come to a close with the observance of Yom Kippur.

Many people outside of the Jewish community have heard of Yom Kippur, but are not usually sure what it actually means, or what Jewish people do to celebrate the holy day. Yom Kippur means a Day of Atonement and is the holiest day in the entire Jewish calendar. Because the Jewish calendar works by the moon, and is lunar, that means that the actual date of Yom Kippur changes every year. In 2014, Yom Kippur will be celebrated beginning the evening of October 3.

On Yom Kippur, Jews will think through all of the things that they have done wrong, when they have let people down, or not done things that they should have done, and ask for forgiveness from God. As Jewish days start at sundown, this will start during the evening.

Many Jewish people will also fast during this time, to show their sadness that they have not done as they ought to. This act of penance is one way of showing God that they wish to atone for the things that they have done. Many devout Jewish people will also refuse to wash during this time, and not be intimate with their spouses, as this is a time that they dedicate to God. Jewish people generally do not go to work or school on Yom Kippur, as this could distract them from the religious significance of the day.

It is traditional to wear white on Yom Kippur, to show the attempt to return back to a pure state. Although Yom Kippur can be a very solemn celebration, it is a holiday as well. Jewish people celebrate the goodness of their God, as he forgives them and allows them to try again the next year. It is also a time for families and friends to be reconciled if they have fallen out during the year.

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