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CULTURE & HERITAGE - Culture & History

YOM KIPPUR

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Yom Kippur, also known as Day of Atonement, is the holiest day of the year for the Jewish people. Its central themes are atonement and repentance. Jewish people traditionally observe this holy day with an approximate 25-hour period of fasting and intensive prayer, often spending most of the day in synagogue services.

Yom Kippur completes the annual period known in Judaism as the High Holy Days or Yamim Nora'im ("Days of Awe") that commences with Rosh Hashanah.
According to Jewish tradition, God inscribes each person's fate for the coming year into a book, the Book of Life, on Rosh Hashanah, and waits until Yom Kippur to "seal" the verdict. During the Days of Awe, a Jewish person tries to amend his or her behavior and seek forgiveness for wrongs done against God and against other human beings.The evening and day of Yom Kippur are set aside for public and private petitions and confessions of guilt. At the end of Yom Kippur, one hopes that they have been forgiven by God.

As one of the most culturally significant Jewish holidays, Yom Kippur is observed by many secular Jews who may not observe other holidays.

Leviticus, 16.20,: "And when he hath made an end of reconciling the holy place, and the tabernacle of the congregation, and the altar, he shall bring the live goat;
21 And Aaron shall lay both his hands upon the head of the live goat, and confess upon him all the iniquities of the children of Israel and all their transgressions in all their sins, putting them upon the head of the goat, and shall send him away by the hand of a fit man into the wilderness:
22 And the goat shall bear upon him all their iniquities unto a land not inhabited: and he shall let go the goat in the wilderness....
26 And he that let go the goat for the scapegoat shall wash his clothes, and bathe his flesh in water, and afterward come into the camp...
29 And this shall be a statute for ever unto you that in the seventh month, on the tenth day of the month, ye shall afflict your souls, and do not work at all, whether it be one of your own country, or a stranger that sojourneth among you:
30 For on that day shall the priest make an atonement for you, to cleanse you, that you may be clean from all your sins before the Lord.

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Jonah and the Whale

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Chapter 1
17- Now the Lord prepared a great fish to swallow up Jonas: and Jonas was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights.
Chapter 2
Then Jonas prayed to the Lord his God out of the belly of the fish.
2 -And said: I cried out of my affliction to the Lord, and he heard me: I cried out of the belly of hell, and thou hast heard my voice.
3- And thou hast cast me forth into the deep in the heart of the sea, and a flood hath compassed me: all thy billows and thy waves have passed over me.
5- And I said: I am cast away out of the sight of thy eyes: but yet I shall see thy holy temple again.
6- I went down to the bottoms of the mountains; the earth with her bars was about me forever: yet hast thou brought up my life from corruption, O Lord my God.
7- When my soul fainted within me I remembered the Lord: and my prayer came in unto thee, into thine holy temple.
8- They that observe lying vanities forsake their own mercy.
9- But I will sacrifice unto thee with the voice of thanksgiving; I will pay that that I have vowed. Salvation is of the Lord.
10- And the Lord spoke unto the fish, and it vomited out Jonah upon the dry land.
In Israel, public transportation is interrupted during the whole day. Air traffic and audio-visual broadcasting is also suspended on this occasion. The celebration of Yom Kippour is punctuated by prayers and a fast during 25 hours. All access on Palestinian territory is forbidden during the day, except for emergency humanitarian staff for security reasons..