On the Eve of Yom Kippur, we eat a sustaining meal and light holiday candles with a special blessing. We then go to synagogue for the special Kol Nidrei service, in which we invoke both an earthly and a heavenly court to release us from any unfulfillable vows we may make in the year to […]
Why Do Jews Fast On Yom Kippur?
In Judaism, a fast day or ta’anit is a day to refrain from all food and drink, including water. There are several minor fast days, lasting from dawn until dark, and two major ones, Tish’a b’Av and Yom Kippur, which last 25 hours, from sunset on the evening before the fast day until after dark […]
Traditional Break-the-Fast Foods
The Yom Kippur fast is followed by a joyful meal with family and friends, and is traditionally composed of light, breakfast-like food – eggs, cheese and bread. One would expect to eat round challah with hummus, baba ganouj and other spreads. Fresh fruit, blintzes, noodle kugels, bagels and lox and other foods that are gentle […]
How is Yom Kippur Celebrated? Part I
Yom Kippur is the holiest day of the Jewish calendar. It is observed by fasting for 25 hours and spending most of that time in synagogue, in communal and private prayer. The day has the largest number of prayer services of any holiday – five, the first beginning before sunset on the 9th of Tishrei […]
How is Yom Kippur Celebrated? Part II
On Yom Kippur morning, we come to the synagogue for the first service, the Shakharit or morning prayer. It is followed by a service for which many people come to synagogue even if they do not come for anything else – the Yizkor or memorial service. We recall our departed loved ones and resolve to […]
Is Yom Kippur a Happy or Sad Holiday?
Yom Kippur is definitely not a sad day. We are sad and mournful on Tish’a b’Av, when we remember the destruction of both Temples and other terrible things that have happened to our people. Yom Kippur is a solemn and important day, but it is not sad. We fast in order to focus and be […]
When is Yom Kippur?
Yom Kippur (the Day of Atonement) is observed on the tenth day of the Hebrew month of Tishrei. The Hebrew calendar is composed of 12 lunar months (13 in a leap year, when the month of Adar is doubled). It was ordained in the Torah as a day of fasting and purification, and is considered […]
How Do You Say Happy New Year in Hebrew?
The Talmud tells us that our fate for the coming year is inscribed by G-d in the Book of Life on Rosh HaShanah, but it is not sealed and made permanent until Yom Kippur. The traditional Ashkenazic greeting, therefore, is “l’shanah tovah tikateivu v’tikhateimu”, meaning “may you be inscribed and sealed [in the Book of […]