Monday, October 02, 2006

Nothing to Say

Sorry, but I'm on empty. My goal for the weekend was to rest, and to do little else... and I succeeded.

So, I have very little to offer, other than the fact that I slept well.


Despite today's holiday, I will be going in to work. There's too much going on at the office for me to take the day off, in good conscience.

In lieu of that particular mode of observance, then, allow me to borrow a few words from Wikipedia, so that we can all educate ourselves.


Yom Kippur is the Jewish holiday of the Day of Atonement. It falls on the tenth day of the Hebrew month of Tishri. The Bible calls the day Yom Hakippurim (Hebrew, "Day of the Atonements"). It is one of the Yamim Noraim (Hebrew, "Days of Awe"). The day is commemorated with a 25-hour fast and intensive prayer. It is the most holy day of the Jewish year.

General observances

Yom Kippur is the Jewish day of repentance, considered to be the holiest and most solemn day of the year. Its central theme is atonement and reconciliation. Eating, washing, cosmetics, wearing leather shoes, and conjugal relations are prohibited (Mishnah tractate Yoma 8:1). Total abstention from food and drink usually begins half-an-hour before sundown (called "tosefet Yom Kippur," the "addition" of fasting part of the day before is required by Jewish law), and ends after nightfall the following day. Although the fast is required of all healthy adults, it is specifically forbidden for anyone who might be harmed by it, such as pregnant women or sick people.

Yom Kippur is observed in different ways in different Jewish communities. Sephardic Jews (Jews of Spanish, Portuguese and North African descent) refer to this holiday as "the White Fast." Consequently, many Jews have the custom of wearing only white clothing on this day, to symbolize their "white" (pure) desire to free themselves from sin. Ashkenazic Jews, while acknowledging the origins of the holiday as a day of rejoicing, tend to take a more somber, solemn attitude to the day.

Observances among secular Jews

Yom Kippur is considered the holiest of Jewish holidays, and its observance is held even among the majority of secular Jews who may not strictly observe other holidays. Many secular Jews will fast and attend synagogue on Yom Kippur, where the number of worshippers attending is often double or triple the normal attendance. In Israel, public non-observance (such as eating or driving a motor vehicle) is taboo. Yom Kippur there has the nickname "Festival of Bicycles," referring to children's practice of freely riding their bicycles in the streets without motor vehicles presenting danger. In Israel on Yom Kippur there is no broadcast television, no public transportation, and the airports are closed. There is no commerce of any kind in the Jewish areas.

Read the rest here.

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