• Dr. Herpy

The Significance of Yom Kippur

             If I told you that most Ohioans were Christian, you probably wouldn’t bat an eye, but, if I told you that only 1% of the Ohio populace was Jewish would you still shrug it off? You have probably heard that we will be getting Monday the 28th off for a Jewish holiday called Yom Kippur, but did you know that Yom Kippur is actually considered the most important holiday in the Jewish faith? Yes that’s right, Yom Kippur has more significance than the widely known Jewish holiday, Hanukkah. Yom Kippur or the Day of Atonement, is the holiest day in the Jewish calendar, and according to tradition, it is on Yom Kippur that God decides each person’s fate, so Jews are encouraged to make amends and ask forgiveness for sins committed during the past year. All healthy Jewish adults are asked to to abstain from eating and drinking between sundown on the evening before Yom Kippur and nightfall the next day. The fast is believed to cleanse the body and spirit, not to serve as a punishment.                  Unlike Rosh Hashanah – the Jewish New Year which comes just a few days before Yom Kippur. The holy day is solemn and reflective. Due to this, it’s probably not the most respectful to wish someone a “Happy Yom Kippur”. Instead, the best way to greet someone observing the holiday can say “Good Yuntif” and “Yom Tov”. The first greetings is Yiddish while the second is Hebrew and translate to “Have a good holy day”. Although the majority of the United States is Christian, it is still important that we educate ourselves on the traditions, cultures, and beliefs of others around us.