MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — At sundown Tuesday evening, millions of Jewish people around the world began observing Yom Kippur. It’s considered the most-recognized holiday in the faith.
So what is the importance of Yom Kippur? Good Question.
There are about 40,000 Jewish people living in the Twin Cities. Of all the Jewish holidays, this is the one that gets the most attention.
“‘Yom Ki-POOR’ is the proper saying, and yes, people get it wrong all the time,” Rabbi Jeremy Fine of Temple of Aaron Synagogue in St. Paul said. “This is the Superbowl of Jewish holidays. Absolutely,” said Fine.
Fine said Yom Kippur dates back to Biblical times. “Yom” means “day” in Hebrew. “Kippur” means to “atone” for any transgressions you’ve had toward God or others.
“There is a tradition to go up to someone you’ve wronged three times and ask for forgiveness,” Fine said.
There is fasting for 25 hours. People also refrain from showering, intimacy, and leather shoes are out.
“Tonight I’ll be in a full suit and Converse gym shoes,” Fine said.
Kids don’t go to school during the holiday, and many adults don’t go to work. Technology and sports are also put on hold.
“Even my daughter this week had to take dance on Monday because she can’t do it on the holiday,” Fine said.
Legend has it that Dodgers pitcher Sandy Koufax even missed Game 1 of the 1965 World Series against the Twins, to be at Temple of Aaron to observe Yom Kippur.
“When it’s over, it’s called ‘break the fast,’ and people go to different homes and they eat all night, just for fun,” Fine said.
Jewish people spend the majority of Yom Kippur in synagogues engaged in intense prayer. The only technology they’ll likely use is driving their cars to their synagogue.