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Some facts about Yom Kippur

The name of Yom Kippur means “Day of Atonement” .It is believed to be the last chance to change God’s judgment of one’s deeds in the previous year and his decisions one’s fate in the coming year. The “books” in which God began recording his judgments on Rosh Hashanah are sealed at the end of Yom Kippur.

Yom Kippur, celebrated on the 10th day of Tishri, ten days after Rosh Hashanah.

Yom Kippur requires a fast of about 25 hours. The final meal before is a somewhat festive occasion, including soup, chicken, and challah, traditional Jewish bread.

The evening service that begins Yom Kippur is commonly known as Kol Nidre, named for the prayer that begins the service. “Kol nidre” means “all vows,” and in this prayer, we ask G-d to annul all personal vows we may make in the next year. It refers only to vows between the person making them and G-d.

The concluding service of Yom Kippur, known as Ne’ilah, is one unique to the day. It usually runs about 1 hour long. The ark (a cabinet where the scrolls of the Torah are kept) is kept open throughout this service, thus you must stand throughout the service. There is a tone of desperation in the prayers of this service. The service is sometimes referred to as the closing of the gates; think of it as the “last chance” to get in a good word before the holiday ends. The service ends with a very long blast of the shofar.

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