Thousands of Jewish worshippers visited the Western Wall in Jerusalem's Old City Thursday night, for the culmination of the Selichot penitential prayers ahead of Yom Kippur. Keller talked with news director Steve Mencher about one significant aspect of this High Holiday - beginning at sundown Friday.
"The fast allows us to focus on making Yom Kippur a spiritual day", he said.
It is said that God opens the Book of Life on Rosh Hashana, and closes it on Yom Kippur. For those who are not fasting, but are observing the Yom Kippur, you can wish them a "Good Yuntif, or Yom Tov" which is Yiddish and Hebrew, respectively, for "Have a good holy day". At the arrival of a new year, Jews engage in a 10-day process of reflection and repentance culminating in Yom Kippur. It ends the evening of September 30.
Observance of Yom Kippur begins and ends with services at Jewish temples - with a period for sleep in between the services - and includes spiritual lessons, prayer, a prepared meal to break the fast and the blowing of the shofar, a ram's horn used in Jewish ceremonies. They may attend Kol Nidre services tonight and Yom Kippur services all day tomorrow. Most of the day is spent in the synagogue for the devout. The Al Chet confession of sins is receited eight times, and Psalms are frequently recited.
This year, Yom Kippur will be particularly sacred because it falls on the Jewish Sabbath, or Shabbat.
It is a time for Jewish people to gather in synagogues to pray and ask God to forgive any sins committed in the past year.
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