Today at sundown, is the beginning of the Day of Atonement, also known as Yom Kippur (יוֹם כִּפּוּר or יום הכיפורים.) It’s the holiest and most solemn day of the year for the Jews and continues until nightfall tomorrow October 8th.

The most heard greeting for the Jewish New Year season is “May your name be inscribed in the Book of Life”.

According to Jewish tradition, inscribes each person’s fate for the coming year into the Book of Life, on Rosh Hashanah (September 26 this year).

In Christianity as well as in Judaism, The Book of Life is the book in which God holds the name of every person who is bound for Heaven. And, according to the Talmud the Book of Life is open on Rosh Hashanah and its opposite for the wicked the Book of the Dead is open on this date as well.

For this reason extra mention is made for the Book of Life during the 10 days between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur particularly called the Days of Awe.

During those 10 days of awe Jews reconcile with friends, colleagues, family members and enemies. It’s a time to forgive and move on. On the principle that if we can’t forgive others, how can we expect God to forgives us.

There is fasting on Yom Kippur and a horn called a shofar (שופר‎), traditionally that of a ram, is used in synagogue in services on Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur.

“In terms of the Gregorian calendar, the earliest date on which Yom Kippur can fall is September 14, as happened in 1899 and will happen again in 2013. The latest Yom Kippur can occur relative to the Gregorian dates is on October 14, as happened in 1967 and will happen again in 2043. After 2089, the differences between the Hebrew calendar and the Gregorian calendar will result in Yom Kippur falling no earlier than September 15. Gregorian calendar dates for upcoming Yom Kippur holidays are:

  • 2012 – Wednesday, 26 September
  • 2013 – Saturday 14 September
  • 2014 – Saturday 4 October
  • 2015 – Wednesday 23 September”

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