The Day of Atonement
Yom Kippur, the most solemn day of the Jewish year, offers an entire day devoted to self examination, prayer and collective confession so that with courage and strength, we can begin the new year with a “clean slate.” The liturgy stresses that we are responsible for making right the wrongs we have done to others. Yom Kippur is a day devoted to expanding our capacity to forgive ourselves and others, to regret anything we have said or done to hurt others and ask for forgiveness. There is a 25 hour fast and we greet one another with the wish that the fast will be easy.
Many spend the day in synagogue devoted to prayer and study while abstaining from food and drink for the 25 hour fast. Yizkor prayers (a memorial service) are read to honor deceased relatives. We greet one another with the wish that the fast will be easy and Gmar hatimah Tovah (may you have a good completion to your inscription in the book of life).