Yom Kippur began a few minutes before sunset last night (Wednesday, Sept. 15), and ends after nightfall tonight
Yom Kippur is a Hebrew name, meaning Day of Atonement. It is the holiest day of the year for Jews and often results in the biggest turnout at synagogues around the world.
Jews spend the majority of the day praying on Yom Kippur, hoping to atone and repent for all of their sins over the past year. It is a time of deep introspection, leading to a very quiet, somber experience.
Because of the intensity of the day, most Jews refrain from working on Yom Kippur.
Most Jewish adults fast (no food or water) for the entire holiday, although there are mandatory exceptions. For instance, children and those with serious medical conditions are not allowed to fast.
Night services conclude with a blowing of the shofar and often a large meal to break the fast.
If you see a Jewish friend on Yom Kippur, don’t say “Happy Yom Kippur.” Although they will know you are well meaning, you need to understand that Yom Kippur is a solemn fast day. It’s for confession, repentance, and introspection. It’s not at all a happy day. There’s not much happy about going 25 hours without food.
A more appropriate thing to say may be, “Have a meaningful fast.”