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Yom Kippur: What’s the meaning of this Jewish holy day?

Yom Kippur begins at sunset on Oct. 4. Here’s a brief explanation of this religious day

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Avremi Zippel (left) helps Cantor Mendel Weitman with his prayer shawl while he practices a prayer he will recite during Yom Kippur services in 2004 in Salt Lake City.

Avremi Zippel (left) helps Cantor Mendel Weitman with his prayer shawl while he practices a prayer he will recite during Yom Kippur services in a tent which is a temporary home for the Chabad Lubavitch of Utah — Bais Menachem in 2004 in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Stuart Johnson, Deseret News

Yom Kippur is considered “the most solemn of Jewish religious holidays,” according to Britannica. This holy day is the Day of Atonement — Jewish people seek forgiveness for their sins and to reconcile themselves to God. Here’s what you need to know about the holiday.

When is Yom Kippur 2022?

Yom Kippur begins at sunset on Oct. 4 and concludes at sunset on Oct. 5.

What is Yom Kippur?

CNN reported that Yom Kippur is the conclusion of Rosh Hashana, which is a period of 10 days of religious observation that begins with the Jewish New Year. Yom Kippur is a day of fasting, which is why practitioners will often say “easy fast” to one another on that day as a greeting.

  • Steven T. Katz, the Slater professor of Jewish and Holocaust studies, told USA Today, “It represents the moment that is established for reorienting ourselves in the right direction. No other festival has quite the same spiritual power as the idea of Yom Kippur.”
  • The late Rabbi Jonathan Sacks wrote for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation in 2019 that Yom Kippur is a “coming home” to God. “God has given us free will and thus the strength to turn from bad to good,” he wrote. “He has granted us a Day of Atonement, and thus the chance to un-write our wrongs and find forgiveness.”
  • According to the website reformjudaism.org, Yom Kippur in the Torah was centered around the temple: “It was on this day that the kohen gadol, the high priest, performed the complicated rituals and sacrifices that purified the Temple from the defilement that had attached to it as a result of the sins of the Israelite people. (They believed this defilement had caused God’s presence to depart from their midst.)”