Thursday, October 09, 2008

Yom Kippur: Bless Me Father For I Have Sinned

As a Protestant, I am always intrigued by the holy days of religions other than my own and how there is often overlap between seemingly distance faiths. Today is the Jewish Day of Atonement, Yom Kippur and it calls to my mind the Catholic practice (which instead of taking place one day of the year, is ongoing) of confession of sin and asking forgiveness.

Read about Yom Kippur, in more detail here in Wikipedia. They say it compares with Good Friday in Christian religions.

Also, I did NOT know Yom Kippur has become known as the Festival of Bicycles in Israel. Check this out:
Yom Kippur is a legal holiday in the modern state of Israel. There are no radio or television broadcasts, airports are shut down, there is no public transportation, and all shops and businesses are closed. In 1973, an air raid siren was sounded on the afternoon of Yom Kippur and radio broadcasts were resumed to alert the public to the surprise attack that launched the Yom Kippur War.

In 2008, 63% percent of the people of Israel said that they were intended to fast in Yom Kippur [8], That may be the reason to the fact that it is very common in Israel to wish "Tsom Kal" (="an easy fast") to everyone before Yom Kippur, even if you don't know if he fasts or not.

It is considered bad form to eat in public on Yom Kippur or to drive a motor vehicle. Allowance is only made for ambulances and emergency vehicles. Over the last few decades, bicycle-riding on the empty streets has become a new “tradition” among secular Israeli youngsters, especially on the eve of Yom Kippur. In consequence, Yom Kippur is jocularly referred to as the “Festival of Bicycles.” Bicycle sales rise in the weeks before Yom Kippur, and companies have taken to advertising children’s bicycles as “Yom Kippur specials.”