Yom Kippur

Yom Kippur is the Day of Atonement. It is the last of the days of repentance. By Yom Kippur each person should have made a personal attempt to right the wrongs they have done. In return, those who have been asked for forgiveness should grant it willingly.

On Yom Kippur Jews must refrain from work and only carry out those activities that arise from caring for the elderly, sick or small children.

An hour before nightfall, on the eve of Yom Kippur, a meal is eaten. This meal should include only food which can be easily digested.

Those who have deceased relatives will light a memorial lamp in their memory. This will burn for 24 hours. The woman of the house should then light two candles and say the blessing: “Blessed are You, Lord our God, King of the universe, who has hallowed us by His commandments and commanded us to kindle the light of the Day of Atonement”.

From sunset on the eve of Yom Kippur until nightfall of the following day it is forbidden to eat or drink. This is called fasting. However, food is permitted for the sick, small children and the elderly frail.

Male Jews over the age of 13 will wear a Tallit (the prayer shawl normally worn at morning services in the synagogue) at the evening service.

  • Blowing of the Shofar

    During the day of Yom Kippur there will be five services at the synagogue. A memorial service is also included on Yom Kippur. During each of the five services the congregation will make a collective confession of their sins committed willingly, through ignorance, folly, openly, secretly, in thought, word or action, knowingly or in error. Even if someone has not committed a sin in any of these ways, they still join in the collective confession, in expression of regret of others’ actions.

    The end of Yom Kippur is signalled by a single blowing of the Shofar. Jews can then eat, drink and rejoice in hope that God has granted forgiveness.

    Watch the video of the blowing of the Shofar.