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The Significance of Yom Kippur

Hayley Simonson, Managing Editor

Yom Kippur follows Rosh Hashanah and is considered the most important holiday in the Jewish Faith. According to tradition, Jews are encouraged to make amends and ask forgiveness for sins committed during the past year. 

The holiday is observed with a 25-hour fast and religious service. The fast has no negative intention. The purpose of the fast is to abstain from focusing on materialism to cleanse the body and spirit. The Torah orders all Jewish adults to take part in the fast aside from the sick, elderly, and women who have recently given birth.

Rabbis and their congregations read from a special prayer book known as the Machzor during Yom Kippur and five prayer services take place on Yom Kippur. The first is on the eve of the holiday and the last is before sunset on the following day. 

Some common traditions for the holiday are the pre-Yom Kippur feast, where families and friends convene for a meal finished before sunset. Then there is the breaking of the fast, where many people return home for a celebratory meal with traditional foods. It is also customary for religious jews to wear white on Yom Kippur, a symbol of purity.

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