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Mazaltov.co.uk  - Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement)
Yom Kippur is the most holy and most widely observed of all Jewish holidays. Also known as the Day of Atonement, Yom Kippur involves intensive prayer and fasting with an aim to "earn" God's forgiveness for wrongdoing against both God and other people. As a result, the central themes of this Jewish holiday is atonement which is why Yom Kippur is also called the Day of Atonement. It takes place on the 10th day of the month of Tishrei and nine days after Rosh Hashanah (the Jewish New Year). Yom Kippur marks the end of the High Holy Days (Yamim Noraim), a period that lasts from Rosh Hashanah to Yom Kippur (the 10 Days of Repentance) or the entire 40-day period preceding Yom Kippur which symbolises the 40 days Moses spent on the Mount Sinai before he returned with the Tablets of Stone.

According to Jewish tradition, every person's fate in the forthcoming year is inscribed in the so-called Book of Life by God himself on the day of Rosh Hashanah. However, the fate is sealed on Yom Kippur. In the days preceding Yom Kippur as well as on the holiday itself, the Jews therefore try to correct any wrongs they did against God and other people with an aim to receive forgiveness from God. The evening (according to the Jewish tradition, the day begins with sunset) and the day of Yom Kippur is reserved for prayer and confession of sins (Vidui).On Yom Kippur, most Jews including the secular ones who normally do not observe Jewish religious holidays go to synagogue to attend prayer services.

In contrary to a regular day which has three prayer services in synagogues, there are five prayer services on Yom Kippur. In addition to the standard rituals, Yom Kippur prayer services also include a unique prayer which is dedicated to the High Priest in the Temple in Jerusalem and a public confession of sins. On the day before Yom Kippur, the Jews are obliged to commemorate it with a festive meal (Yom Kippur involves fasting from sunset to sunset), ask other people for forgiveness and give to charity. After the sunset on Yom Kippur, the observants are not allowed to:

- drink and eat
- bath and wash
- be intimate
- wear leather shoes
- use perfumes and lotions

Yom Kippur is both religious and legal holiday in Israel. All the shops and restaurants are closed, there is no public transportation and no planes are coming in and leaving the country. It is not legally forbidden to drive a motor vehicle but it is considered offensive with the exception of emergency situations. And since more than one half of Jewish population in Israel is estimated to observe the holiday including abstaining from food and water, it is highly impolite to eat in public during the 25-hour period as long as the "ban" is in force.