What is Yom Kippur? How do Jews observe it? And when does the fast start?
Yom Kippur is the holiest day of the Jewish year.
It's the day of atonement after the Jewish new year, Rosh Hashanah. On this day, Jews ask God for forgiveness for their sins to secure their fate. It's also known as the Sabbath of Sabbaths.
It begins Tuesday evening and ends Wednesday evening. (Yom Kippur usually falls in September or October.) Jews observe the holiday by fasting from just before sunset until just after nightfall. Some will avoid working, wearing leather shoes, applying makeup or lotion, washing or bathing and having sex.
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During this time, Jews attend worship services where the machzor, a prayer book used during holy days, is read and specific prayers are recited. At the end of the services, a shofar. or ram's horn. is blown to signal the end of Yom Kippur. Then, Jews are able to feast, breaking the fast.
Jews believe the first Yom Kippur occurred after God gave Moses the Ten Commandments at Mount Sinai. When Moses came down from the mountain, he found the Israelites worshiping a gold idol calf. After they atoned for their sin, God forgave them and offered Moses a second set of tablets.