Yom Kippur festivities persist amid COVID – Inklings News
The holiest Jewish holiday, Yom Kippur, means “day of atonement”. Feast-keepers strive to cleanse themselves through the practice of forgiveness and repentance for one’s own wrongdoing. It takes place on the tenth day of Tishrei, the seventh month of the Hebrew calendar – and this year it was celebrated on September 16. Although Yom Kippur is one of the most thoughtful and least optimistic holidays, each family observes its own unique festivities. However, with the presence of COVID, some traditions have been put on the back burner.
This year my family broke the fast with just two of our close family friends. Although we are all vaccinated, we want to be careful while being able to commemorate Yom Kippur. “
-Olivia Kasabian ’23
Fasting is a popular practice for observers who have chosen to fast from sunset the night before until sunset the next day. Traditionally, several families get together to âbreak the fastâ with a big dinner of bagels and often sweet treats. However, with the interference and persistence of COVID-19, Yom Kippur is more difficult to celebrate with larger groups.
“This year my family broke the fast with just two of our close family friends,” Olivia Kasabian ’23 noted. âAlthough we are all vaccinated, we want to be careful while being able to commemorate Yom Kippur. “
Although not mandatory, it is customary for those who have served as bar mitzvahs to fast and / or attend synagogue services. However, with capacity restrictions in synagogues, attending services looks slightly different from previous years.
“I went to services in the morning and the community was much smaller than normal due to COVID”, Aviva Ross ’25 noted. âMore than half of the congregation in our synagogue was watching online. On top of that, everyone was separate and had a mandate to wear masks. “
Many who attended the services noticed that their temple guests hosted based on potential COVID concerns.
“Wednesday evening, I went to the temple with my family, then I also went on Thursday morning”, Ryder Levine ’25 noted. “My [Yom Kippur] plans have not changed due to COVID as my temple was able to organize services outside. I was able to find my family [for break fast] outside too.
As each family honors Yom Kippur differently, not all of those who celebrate have been able to continue their usual Yom Kippur traditions. Despite the inability to reunite with loved ones, many have kept their spirits up.
“I didn’t fast because I couldn’t break the fast with my extended family” Alana Zitomer ’23 noted. “I hope next year will be different so I can celebrate the holidays with my family.”