Yom Kippur

By Jack Rowland, Ananya Pani, & Anna Dai

When is the Next Yom Kippur?

Yom Kippur takes place annually during the tenth month of the lunar year, Tishri, or on the Gregorian Calendar, between September and October. The next Yom Kippur will take place at sunset of Tuesday, September 22nd at 6:54 PM, and extends to sunset of Wednesday, September 23rd at 6:52 PM.

The Story Behind Yom Kippur

After the Israelites escaped Egypt, Moses led his once-enslaved people to the foot of Mt. Sinai and climbed up the mountain himself. At the peak, he received sacred tablets from God on which the Ten Commandments were inscribed. When he descended once more, he found his fellow Jews committing a sin: worshipping a golden calf instead of the one God. In his anger, Moses shattered the sacred stone tablets. However, forty days later God forgave the Jewish people for their idolatry because they atoned for their crime, and gave Moses another tablet on which the Ten Commandments were inscribed upon to replace the one that was shattered. This atonement is since known as Yom Kippur, and also as the 'Sabbath of Sabbaths'.

Rituals and Customs of Yom Kippur

With Yom Kippur being the most important of any holiday in Judaism, it creates an air of solemnity and respect that is tangible throughout the Jewish community. In celebration of the sacred holiday, the Jews fast (no food, water, sex, or work) for twenty-five hours straight without waver: Along with this, it is customary to wear white, a color symbolic for purity and tranquility, something longed for by the Jewish culture. Orthodox Jews, a branch of Judaism that holds strong and very strict beliefs, may not anoint themselves with oil or wear leather shoes on this day, instead they must wear a long white robe called a kittel. Not only do the Orthodox Jews follow those rituals, but many often partake in a practice called the Kaparot, where they swing a chicken over their head seeking forgiveness for their sins, after which they slaughter the chicken and donate it to a charitable organization. just before they do this, many will consensually be hit with a leather belt, in punishment for their sins. The services held on Yom Kippur start at sunrise, where they read excerpts from the Torah and recite penitential prayers, these services come to a close at sundown, the official start of the holiday. The longevity and dedication that is shown to this holiday , truly just further exemplifies the significance of this consecrated holiday.

Rituals on Yom Kippur

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This photo was shot inside of a Jewish Synagogue where many people are following along to a passage in the Torah. The men in this photo are wearing yarmulke's, which are customary for men and boys to wear in the Temple.
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A father and son perform the Kaparot, a ritual in which people twirl a live chicken above their head, to atone for their sins. After which, they slaughter the chicken and donate it to a charity.

Did You Know?

Famous Jewish baseball player of the Los Angeles Dodgers, Sandy Koufax, made national headlines when he refused to pitch in the first game of the 1965 World Series because it fell on Yom Kippur. Don Drysdale replaced Koufax as the pitcher; however, he was pulled out in result of his for poor performance. Luckily, the Dodgers still ended up winning the series.

Work Cited

"Yom Kippur." History.com. A&E Television Networks. Web. 25 Nov. 2014. <http://www.history.com/topics/holidays/yom-kippur-history>.

"Yom Kippur in United States." Yom Kippur in United States. Web. 25 Nov. 2014. <http://www.timeanddate.com/holidays/us/yom-kippur>.

"Yom Kippur". Encyclopædia Britannica. Encyclopædia Britannica Online.

Encyclopædia Britannica Inc., 2014. Web. 25 Nov. 2014


Fine, Doreen. What Do We Know about Judaism? New York: Peter Bedrick, 1995. Print.