Yom Kippur is, in short, the holiest day of the year in Jewish religion and culture. It is also referred to as the “Day of Atonement,” and the tradition is to solemnly fast for repentance and atonement of sins.
Yom Kippur marks the end of the annual High Holy Day period (Sept. 16 to Sept. 26 in 2012), which begins with Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year. On Sept. 25, observation will begin at sunset.
Locally, the Congregation for Humanistic Judaism (CHJ) will hold its Yom Kippur Kol Nidre Services and Yom Kippur Day Program at The Unitarian Church in Westport.
According to a release published by CHJ, "Services include readings, music and reflection about the major themes of the holiday, including self-examination and renewed commitment to positive action. Interwoven with these timeless ideas will be the theme of this year’s High Holiday services, ACTUALIZING OUR IDEALS: Turning our Good Thoughts into Action in the Wider World."
The Yom Kippur Kol Nidre service will be held at 7:30 tonight. From 1:15 p.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesday, CHJ will host Yom Kippur day programming.
Chabad of Fairfield will also hold a Kol Nidre service at 6:30 tonight at the JCC of Eastern Fairfield County (located at 4200 Park Avenue in Bridgeport).
Wednesday's first service begins at 9:30 a.m., followed by children's programming from 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. The holiday will close with a service at 5 p.m. All of the services and activities will take place at the JCC of Eastern Fairfield County.
Yom Kippur falls annually on the 10th day of Tishrei, a month on the Hebrew calendar, which is nine days after the first day of Rosh Hashanah.
To observe Yom Kippur, one should eat and drink festively the day before -- once early in the day and once later, before Kol Nidrei synagogue services. Then, for almost 25 hours, the day is spent in the synagogue without eating, drinking and other restrictions.
To observe the High Holy Days and holiday period before Kol Nidrei and after the Yom Kippur fast, many Jewish specialties are made. But there are a few staples that usually make their way onto the table. Try a honey cake or noodle kugel.