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Jews around the world pause to celebrate Yom Kippur

Jews around the world today are celebrating Yom Kippur, which is the celebration of the “Ten Days of Awe.”

“These are heavy, heavy days of repentance and reflection and seeking God’s face as we prepare to go stand before him in a state of fasting and humility on the day of Yom Kippur,” Boaz Michael, founder of First Fruits of Zion stated.

In Israel on Yom Kippur, the nation comes to a standstill. The streets are empty, public transportation ends, television broadcasting stops and for one day a year, the country stops to seek the God of the Bible.

READ: Observing Biblical Time with holy days like Yom Kippur

“It’s a 25-hour fast,” he said. “The fast starts the evening prior to the day, and then we fast all throughout the day. And it’s observed through solemn prayer, beautiful, liturgical songs that go up before God. We speak words of prayer, of repentance.”

During the day, the book of Jonah is read in the synagogue. “Jonah is a symbol of repentance,” Michael said. “Jonah symbolizes oftentimes our own actions, doubting God, disobeying God, going the opposite way that God has called us to do when he’s called us to call others to repentance to build up his kingdom.”

Jews also recite a special prayer called the “Viddui.”

“The Viddui is the central prayer of confession and for forgiveness of the Jewish people on Yom Kippur, and it’s a prayer that they pray not only on behalf of themselves but on behalf of all Jewish people around the world,” said David Pileggi, rector of Christ Church in Jerusalem “One thing that we learn from the Jewish people, something quite important, especially about Yom Kippur, that it’s not enough to say you’re sorry. You have to confess, say you’re sorry and then at the same time take practical steps to change your behavior.”

While many Christians are unfamiliar with Jewish religious holy days, Jesus observed them during his life on earth. In the first few hundred years after the resurrection of Christ, followers of Yeshua (Jesus), whether they were Jewish or gentile, continued to observe the same holy days and many Jewish customs.

So what’s an appropriate greeting for Jewish friends? “Have an easy fast.” But don’t say, “Happy Yom Kippur” as it is not considered appropriate. Yom Kippur is not a “happy” holiday.)

–Alan Goforth | Metro Voice