Yom Kippur is, in short, the holiest day of the year in Jewish religion and culture. It is also referred to as the “Day of Atonement,” and the tradition is to solemnly fast for repentance and atonement of sins.
Yom Kippur marks the end of the annual High Holy Day period (Sept. 16 to Sept. 26 in 2012), which begins with Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year. On Sept. 25, observation will begin at sunset.
Congregation Shir Hadash in Los Gatos will offer three Yom Kippur services tonight at 8 p.m. and tomorrow, Wednesday, Sept. 26 at 10 a.m. and 3 p.m.
Tonight, the Kol Nidre Service begins at 8 p.m. at Sacred Heart Church in Saratoga, 13724 Saratoga Ave. to accommodate the large crowds expected. The service will be led by the synagogue rabbis, its cantor and an expanded High Holy Day choir.
The Kol Nidre service is perhaps the most moving of the entire year, the synagogue said on its website. "We begin our worship with the transcendent strains of Kol Nidre, as our cantor is accompanied by a cello, and continue in contemplation of the year gone by."
Then at 3:30 p.m. Wednesday, Shir Hadash will have its Yom Kippur family service at the synagogue's main sanctuary, 20 Cherry Blossom Lane in Los Gatos. The service will be led by Rabbi Lobel, Rabbi Levenberg, and Shir Hadash Early Childhood Center Director Robin Adelman.
Yom Kippur falls annually on the 10th day of Tishrei, a month on the Hebrew calendar, which is nine days after the first day of Rosh Hashanah.
To observe Yom Kippur, one should eat and drink festively the day before—once early in the day and once later, before Kol Nidrei synagogue services. Then, for almost 25 hours, the day is spent in the synagogue without eating, drinking and other restrictions.
To observe the High Holy Days and holiday period before Kol Nidrei and after the Yom Kippur fast, many Jewish specialties are made. But there are a few staples that usually make their way onto the table. Try a honey cake or noodle kugel.