Yom Kippur is the holiest day in the Jewish religion and specifically in Israel. Israel population hosts people of every flavor of religious outlooks – from ultra-orthodox to secular, and everything in between and hence, a variety of levels of observance and traditions for Yom Kippur.
Yom Kippur is the Day of Atonement and a day of reflection. On Yom Kippur, you are to ask for forgiveness from people around you as well as from God. Also, you will be forgiven of your wrongs of the last year. It’s a solemn day of fasting, where the whole country shuts down – no transportation on the streets, stores, and restaurants are closed, and nobody goes to work.
During your Masa Israel experience in Israel, you may be in Israel during your Yom Kippur. Don’t let this deter you – you can take advantage of this day, no matter how observant you are:
Even if you don’t observe or feel the need to pray, step into a local neighborhood synagogue and experience the chanting and unique spiritual setting. Dress up (don’t overdo it but be respectful), change your flip flops to closed-toe shoes, and quietly find a seat or stand in the back.
Since this is a day where everything halts, you can walk down in the middle of the street to explore the city, meet friends, or even ride a bike. Don’t’ worry, lots of other people will do this as well – kids, teens, and even adults.
Catch up with friends
Invite friends for a casual get together at your place. Put out snacks or food only after you checked if nobody is fasting. If you do decide to cook, please be considerate of your neighbors with any strong food scents.
This is a great day to travel. But (!) make sure to arrive at your destination before the holiday starts. Also, make sure you have enough food and water with you for the duration of your stay, or until the holiday ends. Keep in mind you will not be able to drive at all during the holiday. Luckily Israel is not too big and has beautiful destinations but also remember you will not be the only one traveling – there may be traffic to and from your trip.
Although Yom Kippur is only 25 hours long prepare in advance. Think about what would make it memorable for you, especially during your time teaching English in Israel with Masa Israel Journey. Spend it reflecting, catching up with friends and learning about the holiday.