A History on Yom Kippur

Anjali Rafaqat, Reporter

Yom Kippur is more than just a day that you get off from school to sleep in.  It is the Jewish day of Atonement and Lianna Fried, a music teacher at John Adams High School, talks about its importance in the Jewish community.

Yom Kippur is the day of forgiveness of your sins throughout the year. Conservative followers of Judaism clear their sins by praying at a temple; however, Fried and her family follow the tradition of throwing bread into the water, which is treated as the same for accounting for your sins. Yom Kippur is equivalent to a Catholic confession, known in society but also different as church members complete their confession every Sunday while the Jewish members do this once a year.

There are many unique traditions of Yom Kippur similar to other religious holidays. Celebrators fast from sunset the night before to sunset the day after of Yom Kippur. There are certain medical exceptions such as pregnancy, required medication, or recovery from surgical procedures. Another unique tradition is the attire worn by the women, consisting primarily of white clothing. Fried described herself as  a “comfortable” celebrator; like Fried, you’re likely to lounge around in pajamas and sleep in all day “…to not think about being hungry”!

A pain in the neck tradition Fried goes through is the fasting part of Yom Kippur. Generally, a big meal is consumed ahead of time.  Drinking water is an exception to observers like Fried. Most families eat a light breakfast since it makes it easier on the digestive system for those who fast. For religious believers, each meal eaten must be kosher. As Fried remains a comfortable celebrator, she enjoyed chinese food after the celebration this year.

Upon interviewing, Fried mentioned that she is grateful for the day off for Yom Kippur as it makes it less stressful on fasting. If she had to change one thing about the tradition, it would be to celebrate the holiday later on in the month of September so it would not affect her teaching. “I had to fast while teaching…that wasn’t fun” she states. This year was much easier, Sept. 9, 2019 as Yom Kippur changes every year.

When asked what else Fried would like readers to know, she responded that you should not invite Jewish people out anywhere, to touch money, or do daily tasks during the holiday. She explains this reasoning by saying, “You’re atoning for something so you’re not going to throw a party or a potluck and expect those who are Jewish to show up.” Yom Kippur or Rosh Hashanah is meant to be celebrated in conservation rather than in extroversion like on a normal occasion. Therefore, the contribution of such activities hinder fully participating in the experience of Yom Kippur.

G’mar Hatima Tova to those who celebrate!