Yom Kippur is, in short, the holiest day of the year in Jewish religion and culture. It is also referred to as the “Day of Atonement,” and the tradition is to solemnly fast for repentance and atonement of sins.
Yom Kippur marks the end of the annual High Holy Day period (Sept. 16 to Sept. 26 in 2012), which begins with Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year. On Sept. 25, observation will begin at sunset.
"Yom Kippur means Day of Atonement," explained Temple Beth David president Paul Weiss, "and that’s really what the day is about. Yom Kippur begins tonight at sundown with a special service commonly referred to as Kol Nidre – which means All Vows. It’s called this because there is a special prayer which begins with those words and entreats G_d to release us from all vows, promises, oaths and other obligations which we made in the previous year but were unable to meet, complete or satisfy in some way."
Traditionally, the Torah is removed from the Ark for the service and people in the congregation stand as if in a courtroom, pleading in front of a judge. Another name for Yom Kippur is Yom HaDin – Day of Judgement. Many of the other traditional prayers have a look and feel of courtroom proceedings as well, according to Weiss.
"On Yom Kippur we read the story of Jonah," continued Weiss. "The story details the travail of a prophet who was asked by G_d to go visit Nineveh and warn them of their coming destruction. The story of Jonah’s travels are well known, but it’s what happened in Nineveh itself that makes the story meaningful for Yom Kippur.
"When Jonah arrived at Nineveh and informed the people there of G_d’s wrath, something truly wonderful happened: they repented. They atoned for their sins and begged for forgiveness. When G_d saw this his anger was cooled and he spared the town."
on McGee Road in Snellville, will celebrate Yom Kippur with a number of services:
Erev Yom Kippur
Tuesday, September 25th
7:30 PM-9:30 PM Kol Nidre Service
Wednesday, September 26th
9 a.m.-12:00 p.m. Service
9 a.m.-10:00 a.m. Children’s Service
1:00 -2:00 p.m. Afternoon Service
2:00 -4:30 p.m. Study & Discussion
5:00 -6:00 p.m. Memorial Service
6:00 -6:30 p.m. Concluding Service
6:30 -6:50 p.m. Service
7:00 -8:00 p.m. Break Fast
Yom Kippur falls annually on the 10th day of Tishrei, a month on the Hebrew calendar, which is nine days after the first day of Rosh Hashanah.
To observe Yom Kippur, one should eat and drink festively the day before—once early in the day and once later, before Kol Nidrei synagogue services. Then, for almost 25 hours, the day is spent in the synagogue without eating, drinking and other restrictions.
"My mom had a Jewish cookbook called Love and Knishes," said Temple Beth David president Paul Weiss. "that had a special chapter called 'Yom Kippur Cookery.' If you turned to that section of the book here’s what you saw:
'You looked … shame on you. You should be fasting!'"
To observe the High Holy Days and holiday period before Kol Nidrei and after the Yom Kippur fast, many Jewish specialties are made. But there are a few staples that usually make their way onto the table. Try a honey cake, noodle kugel or brisket.
3/4 c. honey
1 c. sugar
1 c. oil
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. cinnamon
2 1/2 c. flour
1 c. strong coffee
Preheat oven to 350. Mix all ingredients together. Pour into greased 9x13 pan. Bake until toothpick comes out clean.
Wishing you all a Shana Tova, a happy, healthy and successful year.