What is Yom Kippur?

It's Yom Kippur — the holiest day of the Jewish year. Here's why. 🕍

Fate of each person is sealed for the upcoming year

In the Jewish faith, Yom Kippur, which means “day of atonement” or “day of forgiveness,” is the conclusion of the 10 Days of Repentance, starting with Rosh Hashanah, which celebrates the Jewish New Year. Yom Kippur is a day to atone for one’s sins before God and your neighbor. According to the Old Testament, Moses discovered that some Jews were worshipping the golden calf, a symbol of idolatry, prohibited by the 3rd Commandment. Out of anger, he breaks the Tablets of the Law and returns to Mount Sinai to ask God’s forgiveness on behalf of the Jewish people, which was obtained on the day of Yom Kippur, 80 days later.

Several restrictions must be observed during Yom Kippur and notably: forbidden to work, forbidden to eat or drink, forbidden to have sexual relations, forbidden to bathe, forbidden to use cosmetics, forbidden to wear leather shoes. Any boy over 13 years of age is expected to fast, as is any girl over 12 years of age. Exceptions are made if fasting would put an individual’s health at risk. On the day of Yom Kippur, people are encouraged to attend synagogue services, and there are 5 required prayers, including a prayer for the departed.

It can certainly be a bit stressful especially for very observant people of faith, because they don’t know whether they’ll survive or not in the coming year. It is precisely when faced with death that people reflect on the true meaning of life, because it reminds those to what priorities people of the faith should have in their lives. The conclusion of the fast is signaled by the sounding of the shofar, a wind instrument. This is marked by a festive meal enjoyed with one’s family or community.


10/09/2019 10:19 AM


  • Zuhaib A.
    04/21/2020 05:18

    Don't forget the Israhell oppressions on Palestinians people.

  • Richard B.
    10/30/2019 22:17

    I am an old man(Roman Catholic) and I have had the good fortune and pleasure to know-to work with-to be a neighbor-to go to school with-to have an affair with-and to worship with-to laugh-to cry-to celebrate with and to mourn with---people of the Jewish Faith---GOD BLESS THEM and keep them happy-safe -and united in these troubled times.

  • Mike C.
    10/27/2019 20:20

    It is not a Jewish holiday. Judah is but one tribe of 12 of the house of Israel .

  • Lowell N.
    10/25/2019 08:54

    Kinda strange limitations. As a gentile, I would appreciate an explanation of what many appear to me to be nonsensical. Can't wear leather because "the golden calf" did? I thought it was a golden calf! "S'plain, Lucy!"

  • Mateo M.
    10/21/2019 20:07


  • Mustafa S.
    10/20/2019 17:16


  • John Z.
    10/19/2019 08:42


  • EspĂšranza B.
    10/15/2019 19:52

    They dont care viut our beliefs..

  • Richard A.
    10/12/2019 17:16

    Amen and amen!

  • Himanshu S.
    10/10/2019 07:09

    Happy Yom Kippur to all Juice.

  • Allegra B.
    10/10/2019 05:47

    I'd rather be a "godless heathen" then be on my hands and knees begging for a Gods forgiveness who faults us for being human my whole life to avoid burning in hell.

  • Qanjo D.
    10/09/2019 20:17


  • WaterVliet P.
    10/09/2019 15:47

    2nd commandment deals with idolatry, not the 3rd: Exodus 20:4 King James Version (KJV) 4 Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth.

  • Brut
    10/09/2019 13:42

    After her mother-in-law was killed in the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting, Marnie Fienberg decided to honor her legacy by carrying on her inclusive Seder tradition.