As the name suggests, it is the time of year when practicing Jews the world over make amends for past sins.
Yom Kippur is the end of the spiritual "New Year" celebration that began with Rosh Hashana when Jews look back on their transgressions and ask for forgiveness, and pledge to avoid sin in the future.
When is Yom Kippur? This year, Yom Kippur begins at sunset Tuesday, October 11, 2016 and ends at nightfall on Wednesday, October 12, 2016.
Traditionally, the day is spent in prayer and fasting. The practice of fasting on Yom Kippur comes from Leviticus 23:27 that describes "afflicting your souls," which means abstaining from bodily needs, including food and drink.
Jews fast for 25 hours beginning before sunset on the evening before Yom Kippur and ending after nightfall on the day of Yom Kippur. Children under 13 and people who are ill or pregnant do not have to fast.
Meanwhile, at Orthodox synagogues, all-day services beginning in the morning, and continuing until about mid-afternoon, followed by evening services continuing until nightfall. Yom Kippur services conclude with closing prayers and the blowing of the shofar -- a ritual musical instrument carved from the horn of a ram.
Meals & Recipes for Yom Kippur
Breaking fast at Yom Kippur with
dishes made with apples or honey
symbolize the sweetness of life
Following a full day of serious contemplation -- and no eating or drinking -- 'breaking fast' is one of the most anticipated traditions of Yom Kippur!
Traditionally, the break fast meal includes cheese or other dairy dishes, as well as apples and honey to celebrate the sweetness of life -- and egg dishes as a symbol of life and rebirth.
On a more practical note, these ingredients are usually easily digestible after a long fast, and can be combined in wide range of delicious dishes for celebrating the end of Yom Kippur. These might include egg quiches, omelets, souffles, French toast, cream cheese, yogurt and honey, or apple cakes in any variety.
Most modern Jewish families will prepare break fast meals beforehand and have them ready for their post holy day celebration. For this reason, easy make ahead meals are also very popular for breaking fast at Yom Kippur.
Yom Kippur fun facts
Sandy Koufax decides to
out game 1 of the 1965 World Series.
• The common greeting among Jews on Yom Kippur is "have an easy fast".
• In addition to fasting, wearing white during the holiday is a tradition meant to symbolize purity.
• Jewish baseball pitcher Sandy Koufax made national headlines in 1965 when he decided not to pitch in game 1 of the World Series because it fell on Yom Kippur.
• Egypt and Syria thought Israel would be distracted during the holy day and initiated what became known as the Yom Kippur War. It began on October 6, 1973 and it ended with a ceasefire on October 25th following Israel 's successful counterattack.
• Future dates for Yom Kippur? They include October 1, 2017;
September 20, 2018;
October 10, 2019; and
September 27, 2020.
Find out more about special services, fasting, special Yom Kippur recipes, candlelight blessings, prayers and customs observed on Yom Kippur in an Internet tour of the Jewish calendar's highest of High Holy Days...
Yom Kippur Central - They named it right - and offering up complete info and audio courses extending from overviews, stories and Torah readings, to the role of the high priest, an in-depth look
at Kol Nidre and the ten days of repentance.
Judaism 101: Yom Kippur - With information on fasting and other observances of this solemn day with details on liturgical services, an interactive audio clip of the traditional Kol Nidre prayer, and additional info on Sukkot, the Jewish calendar's most joyous holiday that follows shortly after...
Torah Tots - Yom Kippur - More kid-friendly info on special services, garments worn by the high priest, Kapparot and other traditional customs together with related coloring pages, e-cards and interactive games.