This Day of Atonement is the most
important Jewish Day of celebration. It constitutes the
end of ten days of penance, which begin with Rosh Hashanah.
According to tradition, on this day the Lord passes judgment
on humans, and the book of life is closed again. If people
become reconciled and amend the wrong, they have done to
others, they are acquitted. Yom Kippur is a strict day of
fasting. Believers remain in the synagogue all day long.
On the eve of Divine Service, the well-known prayer Kol
Nidre is chanted by the cantor. “Kol Nidre” means “all the
vows”. The prayer says that promises, which have not been
kept towards oneself and towards the Lord, are extinguished.
On the prior evening, people also pray for their ancestors
and light candles for them.
As on Rosh Hashanah, the synagogue
is decorated all in white. At midday, the Book of Jona is
read. That prophet (Jonah) preached to the sinful inhabitants
of Niniveh, warning them of God’s punishment if they don`t
turn away from their evil deeds. As a result, they gave
up their sins and were saved. At the end of the Day of Atonement,
the enduring sound of the Schofar can be heard in the synagogue.
In the historical context of the
Arab-Israeli conflict, Yom Kippur is associated with a
war. On the Day of Atonement in 1973 (6th of October),
Israel was attacked by Egypt and Syria, since on this
day, public life, including the political and military
one, was in abeyance.