Cover image: Yom Kippur

Yom Kippur

The Day of Atonement - the most solemn and holy day in the Jewish calendar.

Updated 7 months ago

About the event

Yom Kippur is the holiest day of the year for Jewish people. On Yom Kippur it is said that the judgments God began to make ten days before (on Rosh Hashanah) are finally sealed in the Book of Life and a person's fate is decided for the coming year. The period since Rosh Hashanah has been a time of reflection and repentance, and on Yom Kippur Jews ask God's forgiveness for their sins over the past year. It is said that those who have truly atoned will be granted happiness in the year ahead. Yom Kippur is therefore a very solemn and holy day. It is marked by 25 hours of abstinence and fasting. Five services are held at the Synagogue where Jews ask for forgiveness and confess their sins. 

How to approach it

This is a great day to introduce students to new cultures and religious practices. If you have Jewish students confident enough, allow them to share their experience of this day with the class. Ask students to think about the importance of Yom Kippur to Jewish People. What does it signify for them? What core values does it encourage? You could ask for example: What is good about reflecting on our actions? Suggest that if we are to be truly good people we need to know the effect our actions have on others. By reflecting on what we have done well and what we could improve, we are able to be better friends, family members and citizens.

Conversation starter

Yom Kippur is a time of reflection and repentance. Being reflective helps us understand the effect we’re having on the people and planet around us. It helps us to understand what things we do that bring others joy and what things we do that makes others sad. How can we tell we’re having a good effect on others?