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Daily News Editorial

By Staff | Oct 9, 2008

Today is Yom Kippur (yawm kee-poor), the Jewish Day of Atonement and the holiest day of the Jewish year.

For those who may not know much about Yom Kippur, the goal is to cleanse oneself from sin. It begins at sundown the night before with a 25-hour fast. By abstaining from the pleasure of food, a person is supposed to be able to focus on repentance.

Another focus is on making oneself as good and angelic as possible, rather than animalistic/humanistic. Wearing white is also a tradition which helps focus on being angelic.

Activities traditionally abstained from on Yom Kippur are:

n Working.

n Eating and drinking.

n Marital relations.

n Washing.

n Wearing leather shoes.

n Anointing one’s body with cosmetics, deodorants, etc.

Yom Kippur began when the Israelites turned their backs on God by worshipping the golden calf and Moses climbed Mount Sinai to ask for forgiveness. While Moses was on the mountain, the Israelites repented by fasting. On the 10th day of the Hebrew month of Tishrei, Moses descended Mount Sinai with the second Tablet. Thus, on the first Yom Kippur (approximately 3,500 years ago), the Israelites succeeded to atone for their sins and renew their covenant with God.

Yom Kippur is celebrated eight days after Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, and also the Day of Judgement. It is believed that on Rosh Hashanah, God inscribes everyone’s name in the Book of Life and on Yom Kippur, the judgement entered in these books is sealed. The hope is that God will forgive you and grant you a good signing in the Book of Life.