Dates and Origins of Yom Kippur
Yom Kippur Dates in 2021, 2022 and 2023
Yom Kippur is celebrated at the following dates:
- Thursday, 16th and Friday, September 17th 2021
In NYC, starts Wednesday at 18:47 and ends Thursday at 19:45.
- Wednesday, 5th and Thursday, October 6th 2022
In NYC, starts Tuesday at 18:15 and ends Wednesday at 19:13.
- Monday, 25th and Tuesday, September 26th 2023
In NYC, starts Sunday at 18:32 and ends Monday at 19:30.
Yom Kippur, also known as the day of atonement, is observed on the tenth day of Tishrei. This day usually includes a 25 hour fasting period alongside intensive prayer1. On this day, Jews spend most of the day in the synagogue and ask god for forgiveness1. The day and evening of Yom Kippur are set aside for confessions of guilt in the hopes that they are forgiven by god. It is known as the Shabbat of shabbats2.
Yom Kippur is an ancient tradition that comes from various sources within the Torah. Scholars generally believe that the first observance of Yom Kippur was a ritual purification of the sanctuary on the New Year in the case of any accidental impurity3. The Kohen Gadol, or the high priest of Israel during the period of the second temple, had to follow a highly specific ritual on the day of Yom Kippur to atone for the sins of Jews worldwide. On this day he rinsed himself in the mikveh, the ritual bath to gain purity, five times, washed his hands and feet 10 times, and performed the following ceremony in this order3
- The Morning (Tamid) Offering
- Garment Change 1
- Bull as Personal Sin-Offering
- Lottery of the goats
- Incense Preparation
- Incense Offering
- Sprinkling of Bull's Blood in the Holy of Holies
- Goat for the Lord as Sin-Offering for Kohanim
- Sprinkling of Goat's Blood in the Holy of Holies
- Sprinkling of blood in the Holy
- Smearing of blood on the Golden (Incense) Altar
- Goat for Azazel
- Preparation of sacrificial animals
- Reading the Torah
- Garment change 2
- Offering of Rams
- Musaf Offering
- Burning of Innards
- Garment change 3
- Removal of Incense from the Holy of Holies
- Garment Change 4
- Evening (Tamid) Offering
The number five appears several times in the Jewish faith. The word soul appears five times and is known by five separate names that are the soul, wind, spirit, living one and the unique one5. Unlike normal days where there are three prayer services, or on the Shabbat where there are four, five prayer services are held on Yom Kippur. There are five traditional prohibitions on Yom Kippur4.
- No eating and drinking
- No wearing of leather shoes
- No bathing or washing
- No anointing oneself with perfumes or lotions
- No marital relations
Yom Kippur is so culturally significant that even secular Jews attend synagogue during this time. During The High Holy Days, which include the period from Rosh Hashanah to Yom Kippur, Synagogue attendance soars.