What is Yom Kippur?
Otherwise known as the “Day of Atonement,” Yom Kippur is considered the holiest day in Judaism. The holiday lasts approximately 25 hours, and is typically observed with fasting and prayer in alignment with the themes of atonement and repentance. On Yom Kippur, people observing the holiday are asked to fast from food and drink (as well as abstaining from bathing and marital relations). In turn, it is encouraged that people spend the day asking God’s forgiveness for their sins and donating to charity.
When is Yom Kippur 2018?
Yom Kippur concludes the ten-day period in the month of Tishrei (typically occurring between September and October) known as the High Holy Days, or “Days of Awe,” which begins with the Jewish New Year Rosh Hashanah. In 2018 Yom Kippur will begin in the evening of Tuesday, September 18 and end the evening of Wednesday, September 19.
How to Observe Yom Kippur
1. Attend synagogue
As a period dedicated to looking back on and repenting for one's sins from the previous year, attending synagogue provides the ideal environment to engage in deep prayer.
2. Donate to charity
Giving of one's time or means doesn't just bring joy to those in need; it feels good to give and it helps us become more compassionate.
3. Don't work
It's mandated in the book of Leviticus that Yom Kippur is a day of rest. Who doesn't enjoy a day off the clock?
Why Yom Kippur is Important
A. Encourages intense self-reflection
It's easy to forget to set aside time to focus on personal growth, but Yom Kippur ensures that you take the day to committing to developing a better you.
B. Brings family and friends closer
In considering how our actions affect those closest to us, those bonds are made tighter in the promise of better treatment.
C. Helps us disconnect
Whether it's work, smartphones, or shopping, it's easy to let what surrounds us consume our every day. It's important to take a step back and take a break from our indulgences every now and then.