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Lesson Transcript

Top 10 US Holidays—Yom Kippur
In Judaism, Yom Kippur is the Day of Atonement, and out of all the holy days on the Jewish calendar, it is considered to be the holiest. Even Jews who do not necessarily observe other Jewish holidays typically take part in Yom Kippur.
Observing Yom Kippur usually involves twenty-five hours of prayer and fasting. The fast begins the night before Yom Kippur at sunset and ends in the evening on the holiday. Jews typically spend most of the day at the synagogue. The holiday takes place on the tenth month on the Jewish calendar. On the Gregorian calendar, the date varies from mid- to late- September through early October. The holiday never falls on Tuesday, Sunday, or Friday.
Yom Kippur is all about repenting for sins, and Jews typically wear white to symbolize their purification from sins. The basic idea is that this holiday each year marks the day God seals their fate in the Book of Life. It's nine days after Rosh Hashanah, which is the day when Jews believe that God inscribes their name in the Book of Life. Yom Kippur is essentially a last attempt to repent and be absolved by God for all their sins.
Traditionally, there are a number of restrictions placed on Jews during this holiday. They are not allowed to drink anything (including water), bathe, wear leather shoes, or wear cosmetics. They are also not to have marital relations on this holiday. Within the United States, some synagogues are more conservative, strictly observing these laws, while others are more liberal about these laws and other observances of Jewish holidays.