Day of Atonement
What is Yom Kippur?
Yom Kippur means "Day of Atonement" and refers to the annual Jewish observance of fasting, prayer, and repentance. Part of the High Holidays, which also includes Rosh HaShanah (the Jewish New Year), Yom Kippur is considered the holiest day on the Jewish calendar.
Yom Kippur is the moment in Jewish time when we dedicate our mind, body, and soul to reconciliation with our fellow human beings, ourselves, and God. As the New Year begins, we commit to self-reflection and inner change. As both seekers and givers of pardon, we turn first to those whom we have wronged, acknowledging our sins and the pain we have caused them. We are also commanded to forgive, to be willing to let go of any resentment we feel towards those who have committed offenses against us. Only then can we turn to God and ask for forgiveness. As we read in the Yom Kippur liturgy, “And for all these, God of forgiveness, forgive us, pardon us, and grant us atonement.”
Attend Virtual High Holiday Services
Many congregations offer virtual High Holiday services and programs for non-members.
A Parent's Must-Have Guide to Handling the High Holidays
Sounds of Kol Nidrei
Chocolate Outs Jews on Yom Kippur
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Relating to Yom Kippur
- At what age do Jews start to participate in a fast on Yom Kippur? What if they are sick and not well enough to fast?
- Can my fiancé and I get married between Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur?
- Does one wear a tallit to services the night of Yom Kippur (Kol Nidrei)?
- I plan to attend Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur services this year for the first time. Will I be expected to donate money during the service, like in a church service? If so, what’s the "right” amount?
- Is Yom Kippur like confession?
- What Are Yom Kippur Yizkor Prayers?
- What Greetings are Appropriate on Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur?
Ways to Prepare
Yom Kippur Videos
Yom Kippur Social Action Guide
How to Ready Your Young Child for Yom Kippur
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