Yom Kippur(Rhymes with yaam kuh·poor)There are many religions in the world. Judaism is a religion followed by many Jewish people.Throughout the world, Judaism has more than 14 million followers, so it is quite a large religion.In Judaism, Yom Kippur is a special day to tell God and to tell each other you are sorry for things you did wrong and ask for forgiveness.Jews go to church (called synagogue — pronounced sin-a-gog) on Saturdays. But to them, a new day doesn’t start in the morning, but when the sun goes down. That means that for Jews, Saturday begins at sundown on Friday and ends just after sundown on Saturday.According to the calendar we are used to, Yom Kippur doesn’t fall on the same day each year, but is always sometime in September or October.This year, Yom Kippur is on October 5th. (It begins at sundown on the 4th and ends just after sundown on the 5th.)Yom in Hebrew (the language of Jews) means day. Kippur means making yourself clean from wrong. Instead of calling Yom Kippur the Day of Making Yourself Clean from Wrong, it is usually translated as Day of Atonement (Rhymes with a STONE mint).To Jews, Yom Kippur is considered the most holy day of the year. On days leading up to Yom Kippur, they ask people to forgive them for things that may have caused harm or sadness. On Yom Kippur, they ask God to forgive them.The Hebrew word mitzvah means commandment. An important mitzvah for Yom Kippur concerns fasting. Fasting means going without food and water. On that day, adults fast. Boys 13 and older and girls 12 and older are considered adults.People in bad health or women who are pregnant don’t have to fast. And children don’t fast, but may decide to give up something for the day. Maybe sugared cereals or ice cream or pastries.And it’s not just food that people give up for Yom Kippur. People don’t wash themselves; don’t put onoils, perfumes, or makeup; don’t wear leather shoes; and adults don’t hug and kiss.Fasting is not meant to make people suffer, but to help people stay focused on the important goal of asking for forgiveness. On Yom Kippur, they try to be like angels, who it is believed don’t need to eat or drink or wash or play. Many people wear white on that day as a symbol of purity.Many Jews will go to the synagogue and spend the entire day there worshiping and praying for forgiveness.It is common to greet people with either “Good Yuntif” or “Yom Tov.” The first greeting is in Yiddish, and the second one is in Hebrew. They both mean “Have a good holy day.”The evening when Yom Kippur ends, a sort of trumpet (called a shofar) made from a ram’s horn is blown to mark the end of the fast. This is often followed by an evening feast.It may sound like Yom Kippur is a sad day. Though it is a serious day, it’s not sad. In many ways it is a happy day, and there are many lovely traditions connected to it.Fun Facts• Most people wear white on Yom Kippur. Married men often wear a white robe called a kittel (pronounced like the word kitten, but with an l instead of an n at the end.)• Many people believe Sandy Koufax (koh-fax) was the greatest baseball pitcher of all time. He was Jewish and decided not to pitch in game one of the 1965 World Series because it fell on Yom Kippur.• The series was the Los Angeles Dodgers against the Minnesota Twins. In game one, without Koufax on the mount, the Dodgers got clobbered 8-2.• However, in game seven, Koufax pitched a shutout, winning the World Series for the Dodgers. He is more famous for the game he didn’t pitch than the one he did.• This is not really a fun fact, but it is worth mentioning: In 1973, there was a war that became known as the Yom Kippur War.On October 6th, which was Yom Kippur, two countries, Egypt and Syria, attacked Israel. They attacked on that day because they knew Israel’s soldiers would be celebrating the Day of Atonement and would be less alert. The plan worked very well.
At the start, there were almost 100,000 Egyptian soldiers against only 500 Israeli soldiers. But Israel quickly gathered its army and was able to fight back.By October 25th, Israel’s army had Egypt’s army nearly surrounded. A cease fire was called and the war was over.

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